Many were surprised to hear President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday on the resumption of building the border wall in South Texas — including Republican US Sen. Ted Budd of North Carolina. Budd said he was even more surprised to learn that the waiver of 26 federal laws the Biden Administration is calling for is very similar, with one exception, to legislation he proposed in February.
“The crisis at the Southern border is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in years,” Budd said Thursday in an exclusive emailed statement to Carolina Journal. “That’s why my first bill as a Senator was focused on fast-tracking border wall construction. Now, less than eight months later, the Biden administration is proving why this bill was so necessary and using the very provision we highlighted. They could and should do so much more.”
Budd ended by saying President Biden created this crisis and doesn’t need to look very far to figure out how to fix it.
The Build the Wall Now Act, Budd’s first bill as a US senator (Sens. Thom Tillis, R-NC; Ted Cruz, R-TX; Steve Daines, R-MT; Mike Crapo, R-ID; James Risch, R-ID; and Mike Rounds, R-SD; were also co-sponsors) required border wall construction to restart within 24 hours, removed all legal impediments to construction, and would unlock $2.1 billion in unspent wall funding. Budd had used the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 as the statute upon which he built his bill, the same as the Biden administration is using now.
The law gives the secretary of Homeland Security the sole discretion to waive all legal requirements related to the construction of barriers and roads.
The administration would also use funds from a 2019 congressional appropriation for border wall construction, similar to Budd’s bill.
In addition, DHS will waive 26 statutes, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, all the same as Budd’s legislation, with the exception of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Environmental advocates shared their concerns about the soon-to-be-built portion of the wall they say will run through public lands and habitats of endangered plants and species.
During the Trump administration, about 450 miles of barriers were built along the southwest border between 2017 and January 2021.
The administration gave few details on the announcement posted on the US Federal Registry about the construction of up to 20 miles of border wall in Starr County, Texas, a Border Patrol area in the Rio Grande Valley sector known for high illegal entry from the Mexico border. According to government data, about 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded in the area during the current fiscal year.
On his first day in office, Biden said building a wall wasn’t a “serious policy solution” and signed a proclamation that paused all funding for the border wall.
But with the increased heavy influx of migrants across several areas of the border and Democrat-run cities like New York and Chicago being faced with an unprecedented number of migrants being shuttled into their communities, forcing a huge strain on resources, the administration looks to have done a 180-degree turn.
“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas,” Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS secretary, stated in the notice.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams traveled to Mexico to tell migrants that the Big Apple is at capacity due to the 122,000 migrants arriving there last year. The cost to accommodate them is nearing $4.7 billion.
Carolina Journal’s editor-in-chief, Donna King, documented her trip to the southern border in April, talking about the humanitarian crisis that is going on, including drugs being brought across the border by the drug cartels, human trafficking, and how every state is becoming a “border state” due to the crisis.
A reporter from the Daily Mail recently traveled with Texas officers and troopers, showing the dangers of criminal Mexican gangs. Federal Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed by the mass migration, being pulled away from the front lines to process those crossing illegally into the US.
About five million illegal migrants have entered the US since Biden became president in 2021.