Report: DHS Secretary considering partial restarting of border wall construction

Upon taking office, President Joe Biden reversed the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including the ending of a declared emergency at the border and halting all remaining construction of the border wall.

It now appears, however, that at least some of that border wall construction could soon be resumed under the Biden administration — if only to plug certain “gaps” in the barrier or finish projects that were nearly completed, Breitbart reported.

That is a stunning reversal by Biden’s team — one that is sure to provoke anger among open-border activists and be met with mockery from Trump and his supporters.

Biden halted construction

On his first day in office, Biden issued an executive order formally terminating the national emergency at the southern border declared by his predecessor. The order also halted ongoing border wall construction and sought to divert the remaining funds set aside for the wall for other purposes.

The order lambasted the border wall — of which Trump managed to construct about 450 miles — as “not a serious policy” and a “waste of money,” on top of prior complaints that it was racist, inhumane and anti-American.

Largely overlooked within that order, however, were a few carefully worded caveats about the construction halt and reallocation of funding, such as the extent to which it would be “permitted by law” and the allowance of exceptions for “urgent measures” or to ensure that Congress-authorized funds were spent to “fulfill their intended purpose.”

DHS considers resuming construction

In a recent conversation with employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas left the door wide open for a resumption of border wall construction, according to notes of that discussion reviewed by The Washington Times.

Mayorkas specifically referenced “plans” for “different projects” he had received from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and 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,” the secretary added, making mention of “gaps” to be filled and “gates” to be erected, as well as areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”

Avoiding legal trouble

This sudden, albeit subtle, about-face on the border wall could mean one of two things — a reluctant acknowledgment that the border wall works to reduce illicit trafficking and migration, or simply a move to legally cover the administration.

The Times noted that Biden’s order to halt construction likely violated the Impoundment Control Act, which states that funds appropriated by Congress for a specific purpose must be spent for that purpose, with few exceptions. Given that Congress appropriated more than $5 billion toward border wall construction over the prior four years, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) is reviewing the legality of Biden’s order.

It will be interesting, and more than a little humorous, to see if the Biden administration, in spite of the president’s orders to the contrary, ends up carrying on with the Trump administration’s border wall construction projects.

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