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DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says There is 'No New Administration Policy' on Border Wall Days After Announcing Construction

'The construction project reported today was appropriated during the prior administration in 2019'

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandros Mayorkas is backtracking after his department announced plans to construct 20 miles of the southern border wall.

The news of the wall shocked many Democrats, who opposed former President Donald Trump’s signature project. Shortly after his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed an executive order stopping the construction of the wall.

While speaking at an event in Mexico on Oct. 5, Mayorkas took a moment to address “reporting relating to a border wall and be absolutely clear.” He said the news of the construction project “is being taken out of context and it does not signify any change in policy whatsoever.”

“There is no new Administration policy with respect to border walls. From day one, this Administration has made clear that a border wall is not the answer,” said Mayorkas. “That remains our position and our position has never wavered.”

“The construction project reported today was appropriated during the prior administration in 2019 and the law requires the government to use these funds for this purpose, which we announced earlier this year,” he continued. “We have repeatedly asked Congress to rescind this money but it has not done so and we are compelled to follow the law.”

In a filing with the Federal Registrar this week, Mayorkas wrote that there was “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.”

He waived a number of regulations in order to allow roughly 20 miles of the border wall to be constructed in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, where significant numbers of illegal crossings from Mexico into the U.S. have been documented.

“As of early August 2023, Border Patrol had encountered over 245,000 such entrants attempting to enter the United States between ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Fiscal Year 2023,” noted Mayorkas in the filing.

Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border in February 2019. Under Proclamation 9844, the Trump administration wrote that “the problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch’s exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years.”

In his 2021 proclamation, Biden said funding for the border wall was “not a serious policy solution” as well as “a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

“It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall,” said Biden. “I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.”

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