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Biden press sec’y says southern border wall US is building is not a wall

A stretch of border wall near Ysleta on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times/TNS)
August 01, 2022

During a press conference on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly denied that the Biden administration is building incomplete sections of former President Donald Trump’s US-Mexico border wall. Jean-Pierre’s denial comes after Biden’s Department of Homeland Security announced that it will close four gaps in Trump’s wall.  

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre why the Biden administration is building a border wall in Arizona. 

“So, we are not — we’re not finishing the wall.  We are cleaning up the mess the prior administration left behind in their — in their failed attempt to build a wall,” Jean-Pierre said, directly contradicting the DHS’s announcement

“And I just want to be very, very clear here: On day one, we returned the money — the $8 billion the prior administration took from our military — we gave that back to the military for military families, for schools, for bases. That’s what that money was being used — that’s what it was taken away from,” she added. “And so, again, what we’re doing is cleaning up the mess that the prior administration has done.”

Doocy pressed back against Jean-Pierre’s assertions and asked, “But President Biden, when he was a candidate, said, ‘There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.’ So, what changed?”

The press secretary responded, “We are not finishing the wall.”

Doocy continued to press Jean-Pierre on the DHS’s plan to build incomplete sections of Trump’s border wall. “If walls work in that part of Arizona, is this — the administration trying to get migrants to cross somewhere else, like in Texas?  What — what is the point?” he asked. 

“We are not finishing a wall. We are cleaning up the mess that the prior administration made.  We are trying to save lives. This is what is — this is what the prior administration left behind that we are now cleaning up,” she replied. 

Doocy responded, “By filling in, is this — is this racist?  Because in 2019, when the former guy was proposing a wall, you said that it was his ‘racist’ wall.  So how is this any different?  I’m just having a hard time understanding how is this any different.”

“A border wall is [an] ineffective use of taxpayer dollars,” Jean-Pierre said of the Biden administration’s explicit plans to use taxpayer dollars to build portions of a border wall. 

“So, it’s ineffective of taxpayer dollars — dollars that actually went to the military that the last administration, the prior President, took from the military, which took away from schools, which took away from military bases. That’s what that money that he pulled away from to build this wall that he wanted — that is ineffective, by the way, which I just said,” she continued.

“Just recently, CBP reported that new bollard fencing along the southwest border was breached 3,272 times between fiscal year of 2019 and 2021, requiring $2.6 million in repairs. It’s ineffective. We are not finishing a wall; we are cleaning up the mess that the last administration made,” she added. 

Last week, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security praised Trump’s border wall as a “modern” and “effective” way to improve “safety and security along the Southwest Border” in a statement announcing its new construction.

The gaps in Trump’s border wall are located in the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, which the DHS said “presents safety and life hazard risks” for illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United States across the Colorado River.

“This area also poses a life and safety risk to first responders and agents responding to incidents in this area,” the statement added.

Biden’s sudden interest in filling in the border wall comes as Hispanic support for the president plummets to just 18 percent.

According to a new Quinnipiac Poll, just 8 percent of Hispanics “approve strongly” of “the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president,” and another 10 percent “approve somewhat.”

The poll also showed that 69 percent of Hispanics disapprove of Biden’s performance, with 20 percent disapproving somewhat and 49 percent strongly disapproving.