In a surprising turn of events, the Biden administration has approved the construction of nearly 20 miles of new border wall in South Texas. This decision comes amid a significant surge of migrants, putting a strain on resources from the border to major cities across the country.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has waived several federal laws to facilitate the construction. The move has been met with criticism, especially from environmental advocates who argue that these border structures will traverse public lands and habitats of endangered plants and animal species.
Interestingly, the funds for this construction were appropriated during the Trump administration in 2019. The DHS clarified that this is not a policy shift but a legal obligation to use the funds for their intended purpose. The new construction will also include the installation of advanced detection technology, lighting, and access roads.
This decision marks a significant departure from President Biden’s earlier stance. During his 2020 campaign, Biden had strongly criticized then-President Trump’s border policy and had promised not to construct any more of the wall.
The recent surge in migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border has been a pressing concern for the administration. September recorded the highest number of migrant encounters for the year, with border patrol apprehending more than 200,000 individuals.
While the new wall construction is set to cover an area where the wall was previously left incomplete, it remains to be seen how this move will impact the broader immigration and border security policies of the Biden administration.