Politics

Biden’s DHS May Restart Border Wall Construction To Plug ‘Gaps’

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told department employees he may restart border wall construction to plug what he called “gaps” in the current barrier.

In a conversation with ICE employees last week Mr. Mayorkas was asked about his plans for the wall and he said that while Mr. Biden has canceled the border emergency and halted Pentagon money flowing to the wall, “that leaves room to make decisions” on finishing some “gaps in the wall.”

Mr. Mayorkas, according to notes of the ICE session reviewed by The Washington Times, said Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the wall, has submitted a plan for what it wants to see happen 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 secretary 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 said.

He said those parts include “gaps,” “gates,” and areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”

CBP did not return a message seeking comment on what was submitted to Mr. Mayorkas.

Mark Morgan, who served as acting commissioner of CBP under President Trump, said Mr. Mayorkas’s comments were “more spin and misdirection.”

He said CBP has always given the administration options for how to proceed on the wall.

Mr. Trump left office with about 460 miles of border wall completed, funded by a mixture of money Congress specifically approved and money Mr. Trump siphoned from Pentagon accounts after declaring a national emergency.

Most of that construction came where a barrier already existed, replacing outdated designs or vehicle barriers that did nothing to stop people on foot.

The new wall is more than just the steel slats. Officials describe it as a system, one that includes technology to allow agents to detect incursions and high-speed roads to allow them to reach trouble spots faster so that agents can interdict anyone who does make it over.

That a question about the wall came from employees at U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles interior enforcement and deportation rather than border matters, shows just how deeply the wall has penetrated the psychology of Homeland Security.

But with Mr. Trump out of office, the public is swinging back toward the wall, with a recent poll conducted for the Senate Opportunity Fund showing 53% now favor construction.

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