Both political friends and foes of President Joe Biden are stunned by the news that his administration is moving forward with the construction of a wall along the southern border.
“What I can tell you is that we are, this is a law that we’re complying with. We have asked Congress multiple times to reappropriate this. This is not the way that we believe is going to be effective here,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House Press Secretary.
The Biden administration announced it will waive 26 federal laws to allow for the construction of the border wall in Texas — the one famously touted by his predecessor former President Donald Trump.
President Biden told reporters he doesn’t believe the wall works to control the surge of migrants at the U.S. border. But he says his hands are tied.
“The border wall money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. 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’s appropriated. I can’t stop that,” said President Biden.
Democrats, immigration and environmental advocates are calling on the administration to reverse the waiver, saying the construction will be rushed and poses a threat to the environment and border communities.
“I am calling today for Secretary Mayorkas to immediately reverse this decision. He has the authority to still allow for an environmental review,” said Rep. Ro Khanna.
Even Republicans who have thrown their support behind a border wall have a bone to pick with the president over the waiver.
“I think that it’s too little, too late. Frankly, the wall was not enough. Now, we know that they’re building cartel-financed tunnels underneath that wall, so my view is they’ve been one step behind. I think that in some ways it has been intentionally avoiding addressing this crisis,” said Vivek Ramaswamy, a presidential candidate.
Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas says President Biden hasn’t changed course on his border wall policies, but that the administration is bound by law to follow through with this controversial project.
“From day one, this administration has made clear that a border wall is not the answer. That remains our position, and our position has never wavered,” said Mayorkas.
The New movement on a controversial issue is drawing pushback — with no end in sight.