As the crisis and chaos escalate along America’s southern border, construction of the border wall might resume, according to a published report.
The Washington Times is reporting that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said “gaps” in the wall could be addressed.
When President Joe Biden took office, all work on the wall — a signature project of former President Donald Trump — was halted.
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration,” Biden had vowed as a candidate, according to NPR.
The Washington Times reported in March that the work stoppage left holes in the wall in Cochise County, Arizona, where miles of road intended for security were already completed but the wall was not.
“We just built roads for the cartels,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said, noting that human traffickers and drug smugglers were using the roads for their illegal activities.
Finishing what was begun appears to be what Mayorkas had in mind last week when he met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees about the border crisis.
Mayorkas sought to nuance the hard freeze Biden enacted on all wall-related projects, saying that although there would be no funding originally allocated as defense spending used for wall projects, “that leaves room to make decisions” on finishing some “gaps in the wall,” the Washington Times reported, based on a review of notes from the meeting.
“It’s not a single answer to a single question. There are different projects that the chief of the Border Patrol has presented and the acting commissioner of CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) presented to me,” Mayorkas said, according to the news outlet.
“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended. But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”
He said those parts include “gaps,” “gates,” and areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”
Mayorkas was referring to technology that allows agents to detect crossings. The technology is part of the new wall sections, in addition to steel barriers to deter crossings, and roads that allow agents to reach trouble spots.
Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection under Trump, called the comments “more spin and misdirection.”
He said the agency has always been able to set priorities for wall construction and repair.
The Washington Times said Biden’s freeze on spending money that Congress allocated for wall construction could be illegal, and that the administration might be forced to resume construction to spend what was budgeted.
In an Op-Ed in The New York Times on Monday, columnist Bret Stephens said Biden should finish what Trump began.
“A well-built wall should still be a central part of an overall immigration fix. It’s an imperfect but functional deterrent against the most reckless forms of border crossing. It’s a barrier against sudden future surges of mass migration,” he wrote.
“That deterrent is needed now. U.S. agents apprehended 170,000 migrants along the southwest border in March, a 70 percent jump over February’s numbers and the highest level in 15 years.
“Notwithstanding the administration’s claims to the contrary, there is a crisis, led by a massive surge in child migration spurred by President Biden’s promises of a more humane policy than his predecessor’s.”
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