The decision of the Biden Administration to push ahead with the wall on the border with Mexico has caused a backlash among a sector of the Democratic Party. Some members of Congress have repudiated the continuation of a controversial work initiated during Donald Trump’s administration. This negative response from within his own party forced Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to explain the measure. “There is no new Administration policy with respect to border walls,” he said Thursday. His message intended to make it clear that Congress allocated the money for the construction work in 2019, during the Trump era.
“The Biden administration was not required to expand construction of the border wall — and they certainly were not required to waive several environmental laws to expedite the building. The President needs to take responsibility for this decision and reverse course,” Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. The New York legislator has asked the White House to attack the root causes of migration from Latin America, among them to stop contributing to the destabilization of the region and to end economic sanctions that Washington has imposed on countries such as Cuba and Venezuela.
The Hispanic Caucus in Congress, made up of 37 legislators, described Washington’s decision to resume construction of the wall in Starr County, Texas, as “disappointing.” More than 245,000 people have been detained in that region of the border during the 2023 fiscal year. “While this border wall funding was signed into law by President Trump under Republican leadership, this decision is not in line with the current Administration’s commitment to end border wall construction,” the caucus said in a statement. Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar said the wall is a 14th-century response to 21st-century problems. “I stand against this waste of Americans’ money on a response that is not effective,” he said.
In the face of the reactions among his allies and supporters, Mayorkas asserted that the news of the new section of wall construction has been taken out of context. “From day one, this administration has made clear that a border wall is not the answer,” he said, adding that the White House is legally obligated to direct the funds for that purpose. “We have repeatedly asked Congress to rescind this money but it has not done so and we are compelled to follow the law.”
President Biden has also denied that the decision came from his office. Questioned Thursday morning by the press, the president stated that it is a decision that Congress adopted three years ago. “The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t. There’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated for. I can’t stop that,” he said.
“It’s a profound betrayal,” the Civil Liberties Association, a nongovernmental advocacy organization, said. “President Biden campaigned on a promise that he would not ban migration and there would be no wall. Now he has said yes to an extreme veto on asylum and expanded construction of a dangerous and ineffective wall in Texas.”
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