Report: Mayorkas weighing return to border wall construction
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is reportedly mulling a return to construction of the southern border wall to fill in “gaps” in the current barrier.
The topic reportedly came up during a meeting between Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees, according to a Tuesday Washington Times report.
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“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” the DHS secretary reportedly told the group.
“But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”
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Mayorkas reportedly said some of that would include “gaps,” “gates” and areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”
Talking about the plan submitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mayorkas reportedly told those in the meeting, “It’s not a single answer to a single question. There are different projects that the chief of the Border Patrol has presented and the acting commissioner of CBP presented to me.”
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Construction of former President Donald Trump’s signature project was halted by President Joe Biden the day he was sworn in. According to The Washington Times, the previous administration constructed about 460 miles of the wall, with most of that being in areas a barrier already existed but didn’t prevent anyone crossing the border by foot.
Trump himself was excited by the possible shift in policy by his successor.
“I think it’s great that they reversed themselves, but a lot of damage was done because we were gonna have that wall almost complete. You know, it delayed two and a half years because of lawsuits,” Trump told Newsmax on Tuesday.
“We started building it and we were almost finished and then they called an end to it. And it’s, you know, just incredible. But if they agree that they’re going to complete it — there’s very little to complete. If they agree that they’re going to complete it, that’s a great thing. That’s a very positive step.”
Asked about the Washington Times report during Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “Wall construction remains paused to the extent permitted by law, so some has already been funded through congressional authorization.”
“When the administration took office funds had been diverted from congressionally appropriated military construction projects and other appropriated purposes toward building the wall. Federal agencies are continuing to review wall contracts and develop a plan to submit to the president soon. It is paused. There is some limited construction that has been funded and allocated for but it is otherwise paused.”
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