Criticized previously, Biden administration to allow border wall construction in US’s Texas

Texas Border. Representational image/Courtesy: Unsplash

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Huston/IBNS: The Biden administration has announced plans to construct a section of border wall in southern Texas of US, specifically in Starr County, as part of efforts to curb the increasing levels of immigration in the region.

This decision comes after President Joe Biden had previously pledged during his 2020 campaign not to build any additional border wall if elected, asserting that such measures were not a viable solution to the immigration challenges facing the country.

The White House has invoked its authority to waive 26 federal laws in order to facilitate the construction of the border wall in Starr County, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Starr County, situated along the border with Mexico, has reported a significant surge in the number of individuals attempting to cross into the United States, prompting the administration to take action.

The move to build approximately 20 miles (32km) of border wall in this area has raised eyebrows, as it directly contradicts the stance taken by President Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who made building a border wall a central policy initiative during his time in office.

This decision to construct a border wall has long been a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats vehemently opposing such measures.

In a statement to Associated News on Wednesday evening, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that CBP was using funds that had already been set aside for a border barrier.

“Congress appropriated fiscal year 2019 funds for the construction of border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated purpose,” the statement said.

President Biden had initially halted the border wall construction during his first week in office in January 2021, signaling a shift in immigration policy.

However, the recent surge in migrant influx has prompted this unexpected about-face in the administration’s approach to border security.

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a notice posted on the U.S. Federal Register.

Mayorkas said he is using his authority provided by Congress to waive these laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act.