The Biden administration quietly approved a plan Thursday to complete a section of the border wall — something the president said he would never do.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
THEN: On the stump in August 2020, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden promised a sharp break with then-President Trump’s hardline immigration policies, including an end to all construction of a barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico.
NOW: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved the construction of four new sections of border wall to fill in heavily trafficked gaps along the border by the Morelos Dam, near Yuma, Arizona.
- The Department of Homeland Security said the project, begun under Trump, was necessary to protect the safety of illegal migrants who run the risk of drowning in the Colorado River.
- Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., applauded the plan: “For too long, the Morelos Dam area has been an operational challenge for Border Patrol agents to properly secure the border and keep our communities safe. I’m glad that the Department of Homeland Security has listened to Arizona and is going to close these gaps.”
- During winter 2022, the Customs and Border Protection built 13 miles of 21-foot-tall concrete and steel barriers along the Rio Grande border near McAllen, Texas, claiming these were flood control measures.
The White House has faced mounting political pressure to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, including calls from Democratic leaders alarmed by the recent influx in areas distant from the border.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday that she asked the Defense Department to activate 150 National Guardsmen to deal with asylum seekers, now numbering around 4,000.
- On July 19, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called for help from the White House, blaming asylum seekers from Texas and Arizona for the city’s rising homeless population.
- In April and May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, both Republicans, revealed plans to send migrants to Washington, D.C., aboard chartered buses and airplanes, saying their states were overwhelmed.
- In early July, Texas border officials asked Abbott to declare a state of emergency and order state and local law enforcement to deport illegal immigrants.
Conservative critics have attributed the surge in illegal immigration to Biden’s moves to roll back Trump-era immigration restrictions.
- In January-February 2021, Biden ended Trump’s safe-third-country agreements with Central American nations, issued a moratorium on deportations and unveiled plans to legalize 11 million immigrants already in the country.
- In the face of legal challenges to some of these moves, in May 2021 the administration drastically reduced Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities, cutting apprehensions in half.
- The White House has also moved to end two other Trump era policies — “Remain In Mexico,” which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases were heard, and Title 42, barring migrants on public health grounds during the COVID pandemic.
- But Biden has appeared to be having second thoughts.