DHS to Redirect Trump-Era Border Wall Cash to Close US-Mexico Barrier Gaps, Fix Erosion Issues
Trump-era border wall construction came to a screeching halt on January 20, when US President Joe Biden ordered a pause on all wall-related efforts at the southern US border, and called for a speedy review of the resources appropriated for the project.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday that it plans to use Trump-era border wall project funds to undertake a number of activities, including the closure of gaps in the US-Mexico barrier, the installation of erosion control measures, and the completion of prior construction on nearby patrol, maintenance, and access roads.
A number of incomplete US Department of Defense projects—primarily in Tucson, Arizona—will be completed to address a variety of safety concerns, the release detailed.
"Work will be completed within the Tucson, El Paso, and Yuma Sectors to address safety concerns by closing construction access gaps that were left open at the time of the border barrier construction pause, and will also include adding missing gates, addressing incomplete foundations, and connecting power to gates that are already hung but are currently inoperable," read the release.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas authorized the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a subsidiary of the DHS, to carry out activities originally proposed in April.
Shortly after Biden assumed office, his administration took swift action against Trump-era border wall efforts, issuing a proclamation on January 20 that suspended all US-Mexico barrier efforts and ordering the development of a plan to redirect funds and repurpose wall construction contracts.
Biden's suspension of Trump's US-Mexico border wall efforts triggered a backlash from some Republicans, primarily those hailing from the southern US, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who inaugurated his first stretch of state-funded barriers on Saturday.
"This unprecedented action is needed for one single reason, and that's because the Biden administration has failed to do its job," Abbott said.
Per CBP data, US authorities encountered more than 1.7 million migrants at the US-Mexico border during fiscal year 2021. Additionally, US border agents apprehended an estimated 1.66 million migrants at the southern border, exceeding the previous record-high of 1.64 million apprehensions in 2000.