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Biden administration reverses course, resumes border wall building

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The Biden administration reversed course Thursday and
mentioned it will resume border wall building, citing an “acute and
quick have to assemble bodily boundaries” on the southern border to
deal with record-breaking numbers of immigrants.

The announcement
by the Division of Homeland Safety mentioned it will waive 26
environmental and different rules and use beforehand allotted funds
to assemble roads and “border boundaries” alongside the Texas border, within the
Rio Grande sector.

It’s an abrupt change in course for President Joe Biden, who halted wall
building on his first day in workplace, saying it was “not a severe
coverage answer” and a “waste of cash that diverts consideration from
real threats to our homeland safety.”

However Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insisted Thursday
that there’s “no new administration coverage with respect to frame

“From day one, this Administration has made clear {that a} border wall
is just not the reply. That continues to be our place and our place has by no means
wavered,” Mayorkas mentioned in a ready assertion.

“This Administration believes that efficient border safety requires
a better and extra complete method, together with state-of the-art
border surveillance expertise and modernized ports of entry,” Mayorkas

Mayorkas and Biden each mentioned they needed to spend the cash because it was
ordered in 2019, regardless of their efforts to get Congress to reallocate the
funds. Regardless of the cause, the announcement was welcomed by border

“It’s a optimistic transfer ahead,” Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls mentioned
Thursday. “Partitions should not an end-all, be-all, however they’re efficient.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, mentioned in a tweet Wednesday on border wall building that, “I’ll consider it after I see it.”

“The Biden Admin promised 20 months in the past that they have been going to shut
the border wall openings in Yuma, AZ and it nonetheless hasn’t occurred,”
Lesko mentioned in her tweet.

The announcement got here in a Federal Register posting Thursday through which
Mayorkas invoked his authority underneath a 1996 immigration legislation “to waive
sure legal guidelines, rules, and different authorized necessities” to clear the
method for building of border boundaries.

That may be a specific concern to environmental teams, who declare that
not solely do partitions fail to cease immigration, however they hurt the
setting within the course of.

“There may be completely no justification for waiving our nation’s most
vital environmental and public well being legal guidelines to hurry this
building.” mentioned Laiken Jordahl, a southwest conservation advocate at
the Middle for Organic Variety.

The transfer comes because the White Home is underneath rising stress to
stem the stream of migrants on the southern border, the place greater than 2.2 million
immigrants have been encountered within the first 11 months of fiscal 2023. The
building will happen on 10 stretches of the Rio Grande Valley
Sector of the border, which has been recognized as an space of “excessive
unlawful entry.”

When requested in regards to the challenge Thursday, Biden echoed Mayorkas’ argument that his palms have been tied.

“These funds have been appropriated in fiscal 12 months 2019 underneath Republican
management, and DHS is required by legislation to make use of the funds for …
appropriated goal,” Biden mentioned.

When requested if he believes a border wall works, Biden responded flatly, “No.”

A spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform
mentioned the change is required given the current surge in border crossings.

“It’s actually a transfer within the course of acknowledging that we’ve
a disaster on the border after years of denying it,” mentioned Ira Mehlman,
the spokesman. “I assume they’re getting a dose of actuality that, you
know, we’ve a disaster on the border.”

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