The president previously said that “not another foot” of the barrier would be built on his watch
The US Department of Homeland Security (US Department of Homeland Security) announced Thursday it will close four gaps within a section of Trump’s border wall. While Biden halted the completion of Trump’s wall by executive order, the announcement comes as the US grapples with a record influx of illegal migrants.
These gaps can be found in Yuma 6, a steel barrier that was built near Yuma, Arizona. It was constructed using Pentagon funds. Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, stated in a statement the Colorado River’s proximity and Morelos Dam present a threat to national security. “safety and life hazard risks for migrants attempting to cross into the United States,”Moreover, it also identifies the potential risks that US agents may face in responding to cross-border crossings.
The construction of new barriers in these locations will be funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s 2021 budget, Mayorkas said.
Biden made the pledge on his campaign trail “not another foot” of Trump’s wall would be built by his administration. Biden, upon his election in January 2017, signed an executive decree that stopped all Pentagon-funded border wall projects. Trump allocated $3.8 billion in military funds toward the wall in 2020, after Congress repeatedly denied him the funds necessary to wall off the entirety of the US’ 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
Around 450 miles had already been constructed by the time Trump was elected, many of which were replacing chain-link barriers. Although Democrats (including Biden) claimed that the 18-30 feet sections of wall wouldn’t deter immigration, an American Economic Association study found that migration was actually lower by wall construction by between 15-35%. “the number of undocumented Mexicans in the United States.”
The Biden administration’s apparent about-turn on the wall is not unprecedented. Mayorkas gave a similar order in December last year to close the gap between El Centro and Yuma, Tucson El Paso and Diego sectors.
The Yuma 6 sector is the third-busiest crossing point for migrants, NBC News reported, describing how these illegal immigrants can wade across the Colorado River and surrender to US agents, before Biden’s policy of ‘catch and release’ applies and they are set free in the US pending an eventual court hearing.
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Republicans have blamed Biden’s policies – including the reinstatement of ‘catch and release’ and the ending of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ program – for the record numbers of illegal immigrants streaming across the border.
Border Patrol agents have caught some 1.74 million migrants illegally entering the US in the first nine months of the 2022 fiscal year, outstripping 2021’s total of 1.73 million. About 300,000 more border crossings were recorded in 2021 than in 2020 and 2019 combined, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection.