Texas Mirage: CBP Floats New Border Wall Project
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is floating a plan to construct up to 20 miles of new border barriers along the Rio Grande in Texas. But since President Joe Biden promised not to build one more foot of wall, it’s almost certain that the CBP proposal isn’t serious. Rather it’s a straw man to be knocked down through a choreographed “public input” process.
There may be political reasons for CBP to be talking about border barriers with the 2024 elections upcoming. Yet there’s nothing to indicate such chatter will amount to anything.
The circular and utterly insincere nature of the process was foreshadowed back in January 2022 when CBP solicited comments on the potential impacts of border wall development in the lower Rio Grande Valley. To no one’s surprise, the 86-mile barrier project discussed at that time has gone nowhere.
There are literally tens of thousands of reasons to extend border barriers in a region that is daily riddled by illegal river crossings. Earlier this month FAIR reported on brazen cartel gunmen wading ashore at Fronton, Texas, near where CBP is ponderously pondering its purported wall venture.
But while the federal government has filed a condemnation lawsuit for a small one-acre parcel downstream, CBP is spending nearly $2 million to study the impact any existing border barriers may have on wildlife. Meantime, the Biden administration is selling off “excess border wall materials” that have been sitting unused since Donald Trump left office.
Among the questions, CBP is asking the public about its prospective wall:
- Are you aware of recreational activities that take place near and around the proposed construction?
- Do you foresee your day-to-day activities being impacted by the proposed project?
- Are you aware of any studies, data, or other information available that would aid in the analysis of potential environmental impacts in the proposed project area?
If CBP were serious about moving forward with construction officials would already have the answers, with remediation programs at the ready. Instead, they are slow-walking in circles, with no particular sense of urgency or even purpose.
Fortunately, Texas officials aren’t so gridlocked. The state has awarded two contracts to erect nearly 14 miles of barriers near Del Rio and in the Rio Grande Valley. In all, Texas has signed $800 million in border wall contracts since 2021. More projects are pending.
It’s unfortunate, however, that the Lone Star State has to fund border security work that is the federal government’s responsibility.
Though border barriers won’t stop every illegal crossing they are an impediment to smugglers and allow the Border Patrol’s thin green line to concentrate enforcement efforts more effectively.
Another salutary effect presented itself last week: A wall that had been constructed near Granjeno, Texas, stopped a wildfire from spreading into the border town, thereby sparing lives and property.
That was a good environmental impact if anyone at CBP cared to notice.