The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed Friday its plans to extend the U.S.–Mexico border wall by 20 miles. This initiative upholds a promise from former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection highlighted the project’s legality, stating that unless Congress withdraws these funds, DHS is obliged to use them for their allocated purpose.
Currently, the Republican-majority House appears unlikely to halt the wall’s construction, an outcome desired by President Joe Biden’s administration. As per the announcement, the intended project is an erection of approximately 20 miles of steel bollard panels in the Rio Grande Valley Sector under the Border Patrol’s supervision. The 2019 border wall appropriations under the Trump administration sanctioned the project. Notably, a considerable portion of previously unallocated funds from the Department of Defense has now been redirected back to the Pentagon.
DHS explained that around $190 million remained from the 2019 budget. Initially, attempts were made to allocate these funds to priority projects like environmental remediation measures, enhancing existing barrier systems, and environment-focused initiatives.
Moreover, DHS has authorized CBP to advance the Yuma Andrade and El Centro Calexico Fence Replacement Projects. These initiatives aim to alleviate immediate risks to the local community, migrants, and Border Patrol agents. These replacements will address current safety and security concerns related to existing fencing conditions for the USBP agents, migrants, and local communities.
Similar to previously sanctioned projects, these replacement initiatives will prioritize actions that manage safety and operational risks. The border agency affirmed its commitment to landowners and state, local, and tribal governments, planning to collaborate on the wall’s construction site. DHS reassured its dedication to environmental preservation and promised to conduct surveys, evaluate potential environmental impacts, and devise strategies to mitigate adverse effects.
This construction plan opposes a promise made during Biden’s 2020 campaign that ‘not even one foot of Trump’s border wall would be built.’
However, when Trump exited office in early 2021, the CBP approved funds for an additional 200 miles of border wall. Biden halted this plan on his first day in office, drawing criticism from Republicans and Border Patrol unions.
Recently, Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, introduced his immigration plan in Texas, pushing border issues back into the spotlight. DeSantis, a popular choice behind Trump in polls, aims to reinstate a ‘remain in Mexico’ policy for prospective illegal immigrants, terminate the controversial catch-and-release policy, declare a State of Emergency, and more. DeSantis further plans to target Mexican drug cartels and establish new laws of engagement for federal agents at the border, pledging to continue the construction of the border wall.
Despite criticism, Trump remains devoted to the border wall initiative. He has proposed ending birthright citizenship, which falls under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This latest development from the DHS and its affiliates underscores the enduring relevance of border security in the national political dialogue while also reaffirming the importance of the border wall to the Republican agenda.