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DHS cancels 31 miles of Trump-era Texas border wall construction

Stretch of border wall east of El Paso. (BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES/TNS)
July 26, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is canceling two Texas border barrier projects that include 31 miles of border wall construction, asserting they “are not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental or other remediation requirements.”

According to the department, the Laredo Sector contracts are the first to be terminated since the DHS its Plan for Use of Border Barrier Funds, including ending all wall expansion.  

“Construction has not yet started on the two Laredo Sector projects, and no land acquisition has begun,” the DHS said in a statement. “CBP intends to engage in environmental planning concerning these barrier projects, including taking certain actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other statues.”

All other paused border barrier projects are under review, the department said, and it will determine which projects are needed to “address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements,” as well as where environmental planning is needed.

“The [Biden] Administration also continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border,” the DHS said.

The move comes as illegal immigrants continue pouring over the US-Mexico border with no end in sight. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott formally announced that Texas was putting a $250 million “down payment” to build a border wall on its southern border, accusing the Biden administration of “abandon[ing] its responsibilities” to secure the border.

“The Biden Administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result,” said Gov. Abbott in a statement. “The problems along the border are only getting worse due to President Biden’s inaction. Property is being destroyed, deadly drugs and illegal weapons are being smuggled into communities throughout the state, law enforcement is having to redirect their resources, and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses.”

“Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but it is clear that more is needed. In the Biden Administration’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done by building the border wall,” he continued. “Through this comprehensive public safety effort, we will secure the border, slow the influx of unlawful immigrants, and restore order in our border communities.”