The Department of Homeland Security is considering restarting construction of a border wall begun under the Trump administration but halted via executive order on President Joe Biden’s first day in office, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.
During a talk with Immigration and Customs Enforcement staffers last week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was questioned about his future plans for the border wall now that Biden halted construction, the paper said.
But with Biden’s cancellation of former President Donald Trump’s border emergency declaration, which stopped the flow of money from the Pentagon for construction, “that leaves room to make decisions” regarding closing “gaps in the wall,” Mayorkas reportedly said.
According to notes taken during the session with ICE staffers that the paper reviewed, Mayorkas said that Customs and Border Protection, the agency that manages border boundaries, has put forth a plan for what the agency would like to see done moving forward.
“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,” the DHS chief reportedly said.
“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. 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,” he added, according to the Times.
Those areas, Mayorkas reportedly said, include “gaps,” “gates,” and placed “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”
Nevertheless, Mark Morgan, former acting commissioner of the CBP under Trump, said Mayorkas’ explanations were “more spin and misdirection,” adding that the agency has always provided the administration with several options about moving ahead with border security.
When Trump left office in January, some 460 miles of new and improved border wall had been built during his term. The new segments also include technologies that alert border agents to incursions as well as roads that allow Border Patrol and other immigration agents to rapidly reach those areas where people have entered illegally.
In October, Morgan traveled to the border to push back against Democrats who said the new wall was not effective by highlighting older structures being replaced with the new taller, high-tech sections.
“I think you can see for yourself…it’s a political narrative, right? They want to score some political points by saying, ‘Oh, it’s just replacement.’ What I would say to those individuals [is] they haven’t been here,” Morgan said.
“This is what we had for a very long time, right? Wood and barbed wire. That is what we had to stop people,” said Morgan. “And then we upgraded to [the Normandy barriers] and this is a joke.”
In writing the book “Illegals,” which was published in 2004, this writer witnessed first-hand miles and miles of dilapidated border barriers like those described by Morgan last fall.
“So when you see this 30-foot high wall, concrete and steel into the ground, yeah, it’s brand new,” Morgan added. “We need it all, including the wall. One element by itself is not the end-all solution. The wall doesn’t address the problem by itself, nor does technology…last time I checked, technology can’t apprehend anybody.”
Border Patrol and CBP agents alike praised Trump’s border wall and have credited the structures with dramatic decreases in illegal border traffic where the sections were built.
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