The announcement, which was quietly posted to the U.S. Federal Register overnight, identified the area as having “high illegal entry” and said that he would be taking steps to create the extra physical barriers. According to a document that Mayorkas signed, this sector was the site of attempts by 245,000 people to sneak into the country during the 2023 fiscal year alone.
Mayorkas also said in the announcement that he would use his authority to waive a total of 26 federal laws to fast-track the construction, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
This was in stark contrast to a promise Biden made repeatedly in his presidential campaign not to build border walls. On one occasion in 2020, he said: “There will not be another foot of wall construction in my administration.”
After getting into office the following year, he issued an executive order that stated: "It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall. … Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution. It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”
He also put a stop to all border wall construction and took the Trump administration to task for its actions, saying the wall was "just one example of the prior administration’s misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly and humane way."
Now, however, the Biden administration appears to be responding to growing pressure from those within their own party to do something about the influx of immigrants entering the country at the border each day.
Democrat Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker asked Biden to take action on what he termed an “untenable” migrant crisis in his state, saying their resources were strained after 15,000 migrants were bused there during the last year.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson are also among those who have been requesting action at the border.
Some people felt that expanding the wall would not be enough, however, with Representative August Pfluger (R-Texas) noting: “Any additional barrier must be followed up by the political will to enforce our immigration laws.
“Twenty miles of border wall will not stop the outright invasion of our country—only consequences will.”
Sources from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently told Fox News that more than 260,000 encounters took place at the border last month, marking the highest monthly total ever recorded. Internal CBP data shows they encountered almost 10,000 undocumented immigrants crossing the border on Wednesday alone, more than 8,000 of whom made the crossing illegally.
President Biden has already tried to distance himself from the wall, saying that he still believes it won’t work and that he is essentially being forced to resume the construction because the money had already been appropriated for it.
"The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn't. They wouldn't. In the meantime, there's nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated for. I can't stop that," he claimed.
Although this move is long overdue, so much more needs to be done to stem the illegal immigration crisis that is taking over so many parts of the nation.
Sources for this article include: