Will Mayorkas Restart Border Wall Construction?
FAIR Take | April 2021
According to a report in the Washington Times, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hinted that construction of the southern border wall could begin again in order to “fill gaps” where “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented” in a discussion with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees last week.
This goes against a central campaign promise of President Joe Biden, who campaigned on the notion that he would immediately halt all border wall construction, even in the case where the government had already paid contractors and construction firms.
If the reporting in the Washington Times is correct, then this is welcome news. Completing the border wall – particularly in places where the federal government has already paid for the labor and materials – is an important tool in combating illegal immigration. While a border wall system is not a cure-all for the problems we now face at the border, it does help funnel aliens between the ports of entry where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials can process and admit or remove them, if necessary. This would save CBP resources, which would in turn save money for American taxpayers in the long run.
The Washington Times noted in an additional report that President Biden’s decision to halt border wall funding may violate the Impoundment Control Act. Congressional Republicans argue that the Impoundment Control Act makes it illegal for a president to delay appropriated funding to a project because of differences in policy goals – such as the case with President Biden ordering the cessation of further border wall funding.
Mayorkas made these remarks in light of the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Border Patrol apprehended nearly 400,000 illegal aliens through just five months of the 2021 fiscal year. In FY 2020, Border Patrol apprehended a total of just 458,000. The crisis continues unabated as Mayorkas and the Biden administration continue denying the fact that their policies are responsible for the surge in asylum-seeking aliens.
This acknowledgment by Mayorkas is a small step in the right direction, but the Biden administration still has a long way to go before they can say that they are addressing this crisis head-on. In addition to increased border wall funding, the Biden administration must resume the Migrant Protection Protocols, re-enter the Trump-era asylum agreements with the northern triangle countries, and re-instate Title 42 protections for unaccompanied children.