US politics: Joe Biden's administration to add to Donald Trump-era border wall with Mexico

Mr Biden has had to waive 26 federal laws to allow the construction of the wall

The US’ Joe Biden administration is to build a section of wall aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants – in a u-turn on an election pledge he made opposing his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy.

The construction of a wall to block out immigration into the southern states from central America was a key policy for Republican Mr Trump and became a hot topic during the last presidential election, when Mr Biden insisted he would not build another foot of wall if he was elected, branding the idea “not a serious policy solution”.

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The 20 mile section will be built in Texas’ Starr County along its border with Mexico, where there has been a rise in the number of people travelling across illegally.

President Joe Biden is to build a 20-mile stretch of wall to keep immigrants from crossing into the US.President Joe Biden is to build a 20-mile stretch of wall to keep immigrants from crossing into the US.
President Joe Biden is to build a 20-mile stretch of wall to keep immigrants from crossing into the US.

To do so, the administration has had to waive 26 federal laws and says it will pay for the construction through funds approved during Mr Trump’s time as president.

In an application posted in the US Federal Registry, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said it was “necessary to waive certain laws, regulations, and other legal requirements in order to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads”, citing “high illegal entry.”

Mr Mayorkas pointed to an increasing number of immigrants entering Texas. US authorities have said more than 245,000 crossings have been made into the country already this year, with September already expected to be a record month.

“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,” he said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this week that his city is “at capacity”, adding that it will cost around $12 billion over three years to house the 100,000 immigrants who have arrived since last year.

Among the laws the Biden administration is bypassing to build the wall are several of the same statutes the administration has in the past moved to protect, including: the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (the Clean Water Act) and the Clean Air Act.

Soon after taking up office, Mr Biden issued a statement committing that “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall”.

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During Mr Trump’s presidency, around 450 miles of wall was built near US borders.

"Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats,” he said. “But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution. It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

US Customs and Border Patrol has insisted that the wall will be paid for through a 2019 appropriations bill passed during Mr Trump’s presidency that chanelled money specifically to a “border barrier” in the Rio Grande Valley - and said no extra funding would be necessary.



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