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Biden Administration Proceeds with Border Wall Expansion Amidst Rising Migrant Crossings
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In a surprising turn of events, President Joe Biden’s administration has announced its intention to extend sections of the border wall, marking a departure from Biden’s initial stance. This decision, reminiscent of a policy championed by former President Donald Trump, comes as the specter of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid looms.

Background: A Shift from Biden’s Initial Position

Upon assuming office in January 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation vowing to halt the diversion of American taxpayer dollars toward border wall construction. This declaration was accompanied by a comprehensive review of resources committed to the project.


However, the administration argues that the recent move aligns with Biden’s proclamation, citing funds allocated during Trump’s tenure in 2019 that necessitate immediate expenditure.

Secretary Mayorkas Clarifies the Administration’s Stance

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clarified the administration’s position, stating, “There is no new Administration policy concerning border walls. From day one, this Administration has clarified that a border wall is not the answer.” Mayorkas emphasized that the construction project was initiated during the prior administration, and existing laws compel the government to utilize the allocated funds.

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Trump’s Reaction and Mexico’s Response

Former President Trump, quick to claim victory, demanded an apology, underscoring his long-standing belief in the efficacy of walls. Meanwhile, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador labeled the decision as “a step backward.”

Immigration as a Key Campaign Theme

As the U.S. presidential race approaches, immigration is poised to be a central theme. A September Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that 54% of Americans believe “immigration is making life harder for native-born Americans.” This sentiment is shared by 73% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats.

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The Biden administration’s move to proceed with border wall expansion could invite criticism from its left-leaning base, including immigration advocates and environmentalists, who oppose further construction.

Challenges and Environmental Concerns

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security needs to waive several laws and regulations to move forward with the border wall expansion. This action targets Starr County, Texas, within the Rio Grande Valley Sector, where Border Patrol has encountered over 245,000 individuals entering the United States this fiscal year. Environmentalists have strongly objected to the project, citing its impact on vital habitats in Starr County.

Administration’s Broader Approach to Immigration

The White House, in response to concerns, highlighted its distinct approach to addressing the “broken immigration system” inherited from the previous administration. This approach includes creating more legal pathways for migrants and investing in border security technology.

Record Migrant Crossings Challenge the Administration

The Biden administration has grappled with an unprecedented surge in migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border during its tenure, culminating in record highs in September. Initially, President Biden pledged to reverse several of Trump’s immigration policies but retained the Title 42 public health order. This allowed border agents to expel migrants to Mexico without the opportunity to seek asylum.

When Title 42 expired in May, it was replaced with a more stringent rule requiring migrants to schedule appointments through a government-run smartphone app before approaching a legal port of entry or face tougher asylum restrictions if they crossed the border illegally.

Resumption of Deportation Flights to Venezuela

In another significant enforcement measure, the Biden administration announced the resumption of deportation flights to Venezuela, a move previously suspended due to strained U.S.-Venezuela relations. The decision affects many Venezuelan migrants fleeing economic and political turmoil, many of whom have journeyed through the difficult Darien Gap to reach the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Impacts on U.S. Cities and Pending Asylum Cases

The influx of migrants has strained U.S. cities along the border and further north. Asylum seekers often face a lengthy immigration court process, with over 2 million cases pending, as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Republican governors in border states, accusing Biden of insufficient border control measures, have transported arriving migrants to Democratic-led cities like New York and Chicago, sparking criticism from Democratic leaders in those cities.

Seeking Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Biden initially sought comprehensive immigration reform legislation but faced opposition from Republicans, resulting in stalled progress.

As the immigration debate continues to shape U.S. policy and politics, the administration faces a complex and multifaceted challenge, balancing the demands of border security, humanitarian concerns, and political considerations.

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