The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it has resumed construction of a US-Mexico border wall levee. The announcement comes amid a worsening illegal immigration crisis that reached record-high numbers again in April.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) stated Wednesday night that just over 13 miles of levee in the Rio Grande Valley will be completed.
“In support of CBP’s border infrastructure program, USACE has resumed DHS-funded design & construction support on approx. 13.4 miles of levee in the Rio Grande Valley that were partially excavated or at various levels of construction when work on the wall was paused for review,” the USACE tweeted.
“To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law,” the agency continued. “Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.”
On April 30, the Department of Homeland Security detailed the Biden administration’s plans to “protect border communities from physical dangers” which it claimed were caused by former President Donald Trump’s border wall construction.
According to the department’s statement, the Trump administration “blew large holes into the Rio Grande Valley’s flood barrier system” to create space for a border wall.
“The flood barrier system had long provided low-lying regions of Hidalgo County, Texas, protection from catastrophic flooding, and these breaches have threatened local communities,” the statement said. “DHS will start work to quickly repair the flood barrier system to protect border communities. This work will not involve expanding the border barrier.”
The decision to resume construction comes as illegal immigrants continue crossing America’s southern border in record numbers. In April, Customs and Border Protection reported 178,622 migrant encounters, marking the highest monthly total in two decades and a more than 900 percent increase over the same period last year.
According to Fox News, Mexican troops were observed near Del Rio, Texas, for the first time Wednesday, monitoring the shoreline of the Rio Grande and arresting immigrants who attempted to cross the border river.
“They keep telling us that the border is under control and I simply do not understand how with a 392% increase this fiscal year alone,” said Del Rio’s Democrat Mayor Bruno Lozano. “Last year, we had 19,724 captures at this point. And right now we’re at 97,398. I simply do not understand how that’s under control.”
One of Biden’s first moves as president on inauguration day was to stop border wall construction and funding for the project, in addition to halting the emergency declaration at the southern border.