FederalImmigration & BorderTaxes & SpendingBiden Administration to Begin ‘Closing Small Gaps’ in Border Wall Primarily for Environmental, Safety Concerns

Shortly after he took office in January, President Biden ended work on former President Trump’s border wall system.
December 22, 2021
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday that the federal government is resuming work on at least portions of the border wall system started by the Trump administration in part for environmental reasons. President Biden shuttered the border wall project after he took office in January.

“Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas authorized U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to move forward with activities necessary to address life, safety, environmental, and remediation requirements for border barrier projects previously undertaken by the Department of Defense (DOD) and located within the Border Patrol’s San Diego, El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, and Del Rio Sectors,” DHS stated in a press release.

DHS also indicated that this would include “closing small gaps that remain open from prior construction activities and remediating incomplete gates.” The agency noted that much of the work it intends to complete is in the Tucson, Arizona, border patrol sector.

The department described work that will be completed to improve access for emergency workers via “rescue gates” and control possible environmental damage. The rescue gates are “inoperable” in part because the Biden administration ended the project in the middle of construction.

Chris Magnus, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, had stated at his confirmation hearing in October that he was open to the possibility of continuing work on the border wall system.

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Characterizing the additional construction as “remediation,” DHS also called on Congress to defund the wall and “instead fund smarter border security measures that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.”

On Saturday, Governor Greg Abbott went to Rio Grande City to mark the beginning of construction on the Texas border wall in Starr County. The governor directed the Texas Facilities Commission to begin working on the project in June.

Following up on a lawsuit he initiated in October, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated in a press release on Tuesday that he has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to force the Biden administration to continue building the wall. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined Paxton’s lawsuit.

“The Biden Administration again and again refuses to aid Texans battling the border crisis every day,” Paxton contended. “Their response to this crisis is irresponsible, inhumane, and inexcusable. It is time for them to quit hiding behind red tape and help Americans in need.”

Abbott and Paxton are both facing slates of Republican challengers in a primary that is less than 10 weeks away. Illegal immigration has been a sore point in the governor’s race, as Abbott’s challengers accusing him of doing too little too late to confront the federal government’s failure to reduce illegal crossings.

Last month, there were more than 104,000 encounters with illegal aliens and unaccompanied children in Texas border patrol sectors, which does not include individuals who did not get caught.

In addition to the state border wall, Abbott has been supplementing DHS’s response to illegal immigration with Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Military personnel, and other state law enforcement officers.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."