Biden administration greenlights construction of new border wall

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS secretary, said in a notice posted on the US Federal Registry.

Biden administration greenlights construction of new border wall
AP Photo/Matt York
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The Biden administration has taken steps to facilitate the building of a barrier along Texas's southern boundary by setting aside several federal regulations, marking a significant shift from its earlier position on the wall.

The Department of Homeland Security revealed its intention to sidestep prolonged environmental assessments to hasten the wall's erection in Starr County, TX, amid challenges posed by a continuing migrant situation that has taxed both local and national resources, the New York Post reports.

Authorities have noted that the designated construction site has experienced a surge in illegal crossings.

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS secretary, said in a notice posted on the US Federal Registry.

The Biden administration is continuing the progress started by former President Donald Trump.

A cornerstone of Trump's campaign was the pledge to erect a barrier along the US-Mexico border. Between 2017 and January 2021, his administration managed to build approximately 450 miles of such barriers.

The choice by DHS to construct additional barriers seems at odds with Biden's earlier commitment to halt the construction.

Biden had remarked in a declaration on Jan. 20, 2021 that constructing a vast wall covering the entire southern boundary is not a genuine policy answer.

However, US Customs and Border Protection contends that the proposed building, potentially adding 20 miles to the current barriers in that region, doesn't breach Biden's earlier statement.

“Congress appropriated fiscal year 2019 funds for the construction of border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated purpose,” CBP said in a statement. “CBP remains committed to protecting the nation’s cultural and natural resources and will implement sound environmental practices as part of the project covered by this waiver.”

DHS has set aside several laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. This decision has prompted worries among many environmental proponents.

“A plan to build a wall through will bulldoze an impermeable barrier straight through the heart of that habitat,” Laiken Jordahl, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday. “It will stop wildlife migrations dead in their tracks. It will destroy a huge amount of wildlife refuge land. And it’s a horrific step backward for the borderlands.”

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  • By David Menzies

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