President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security may restart construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall to fill the “gaps” in the current barrier, according to comments made by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, The Washington Times reported.
During a discussion with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Secretary Mayorkas told ICE employees that President Biden has left “room to make decisions” on filling in “gaps in the wall,” despite his day-one move to end the emergency declaration on the border and his decision to halt funding to former President Donald Trump’s border wall construction project.
Mayorkas said Customs and Border Protection has proposed a plan for the border wall moving forward, according to notes of the ICE meeting viewed by The Washington Times.
“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,” Mayorkas 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,” the secretary continued. “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.”
The secretary specifically noted that the portions of the wall in need of attention include “gaps,” “gates,” and areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”
Last month, Mayorkas said the number of immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally will likely reach the highest rate in two decades.
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Mayorkas said in a statement.
Border Patrol has apprehended an estimated 150,000 illegal immigrants in March, increasing from the already record-breaking 100,000 in February, and the agency is on track to reach 1 million encounters by the end of FY21, the Epoch Times reported.
In August last year, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden swore that border wall construction would end with him as president.
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration, number one,” Biden told NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
“I’m going to make sure that we have border protection, but it’s going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it. And at the ports of entry — that’s where all the bad stuff is happening,” the former vice president continued.