In an unexpected twist, President Biden has openly expressed his skepticism regarding the effectiveness of border walls, following the Biden administration’s announcement of renewed border wall construction in Texas. The President’s remarks came during a White House press briefing where he addressed the border wall issue and the allocation of funds for the project.
“I’ll answer one question on the border wall, the border wall where money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money,” President Biden explained. “They didn’t. They wouldn’t. And in the meantime, there’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can’t stop that.”
When asked by a reporter whether he believes a border wall is effective, President Biden’s response was a straightforward “no.”
The White House’s communication director, Ben LaBolt, later clarified the situation on social media, stating that the “funds for ~20 miles of border reinforcements were appropriated in 2019 before [Biden] took office.” He added that the President had called on Congress to reallocate the funds for more efficient enforcement purposes but noted that Congress had not acted, citing the rule of law as the reason the project must be completed in 2023.
This statement marked a significant departure from the administration’s earlier stance on border walls, as Fox News Digital reported the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, citing an “acute and immediate need” to waive dozens of federal laws to construct a border wall in South Texas due to surges in illegal migration.
The border wall construction, as outlined by the agency in the U.S. Federal Register, is intended for Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, where officials note a “high illegal entry” rate and have recorded over 245,000 migrant encounters during the current fiscal year.
Mayorkas invoked his congressional authority to waive 26 federal laws, including prominent ones like the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, in pursuit of the border wall construction.
The Biden administration’s reversal on border wall construction contrasts with its earlier decision to halt such projects in early 2021, aligning with then-candidate Biden’s promise that “not be another foot of wall constructed” during his presidency. The administration had criticized previous wall construction as misplaced priorities and a failure to manage migration humanely.
Nonetheless, the ongoing construction is funded by the fiscal year 2019 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which specifically allocated funds for wall projects in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. As per federal law, these funds must be utilized for their intended purpose.
The renewed border wall construction announcement comes amid a fresh surge in illegal immigration, leading to record-high encounters at the southern border. The situation has drawn sharp political criticism from both Republican and Democratic quarters, further intensifying the debate over border security in the United States.