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President Joe Biden said he is being forced to build a border wall and that he doesn’t think it’s effective way at stopping migrants from crossing the border. 

He said Congress had appropriated the money to build the wall so he had to use the funds that way.

‘The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t.In the meantime, there’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated for. I can’t stop that,’ he said.

Asked whether he thought the border wall was effective, he replied: ‘no.’

But his comments don’t match those of his Homeland security secretary who said there was an ‘immediate need’ to build the wall.

‘The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t,’ President Joe Biden said of Congress

On Wednesday, Biden administration has made a stunning reversal in migration policy by revealing it will build 20 miles of border wall to try and combat the latest surge in migrant crossings. The DHS decision contrasts with the Biden administration’s posturing that a wall is not necessary.

Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates, however, argued the administration was being ‘forced’ to build it.

‘Congress is forcing us to do this under a 2019 law,’ Bates wrote on X. ‘We called on Congress to cancel these funds. They didn’t. We follow the rule of law.’ 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the same argument.

‘These funds were appropriated in fiscal year 2019 under Republican leadership, and DHS is required by law to use the funds for appropriate appropriated purpose. That’s what we’re seeing. This was announced back in June by of DHS. And so look, we we believe that there are better effective ways of moving forward to secure our border,’ she said at her daily press briefing.

‘We asked Congress to reappropriate the funds,’ she added. ‘That’s what we would prefer to see – not waste the funding in the way that they’re doing it right now that we are required to do, but they refused. And so now we’re moving forward.’ 

In a shock announcement on Wednesday night, the Department of Homeland Security said it’s waiving 26 federal laws to start constructing a new ‘physical barrier’ that was started under Donald Trump.

The Biden White House has consistently slammed Trump’s tough migration policy and even cancelled the wall construction when Biden took office.

On his first day in office, Biden even declared that building a wall wasn’t ‘a serious policy solution.’

But the recent acceleration in migrant crossings and pressure to deal with the crisis has now forced the federal government to change direction.

The U-turn comes as Democrat-run cities such as New York and Chicago demand Biden do more to stop border crossers ending up in their communities and straining resources. 

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with border patrol officers as he walks along the border fence during his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border to assess border enforcement operations, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., January 8, 2023

US President Donald Trump speaks with US Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott (R) as they participates in a ceremony commemorating the 200th mile of border wall at the international border with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, June 23, 2020

A U.S. Border Patrol agent supervises as immigrants walk into the United States after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on September 30, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. The agent had cut coils of razor wire to let them pass through for processing

‘There is presently 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 in the project areas,’ DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated in the notice.

Trump, whose Republican administration created about 450 new miles of border barriers, responded to the announcement by telling Fox News Digital that the Biden administration needs to ‘go back to Trump policies.’ 

He also wrote on Truth Social on Thursday morning: ‘Will Joe Biden apologize to me and America for taking so long to get moving, and allowing our country to be flooded with 15 million illegals immigrants, from places unknown.’

‘I will await his apology.’ 

‘So interesting to watch Crooked Joe Biden break every environmental law in the book to prove that I was right when I built 560 miles (they incorrectly state 450 in story!) of brand new, beautiful border wall,’ Trump added. 

‘As I have stated often, over thousands of years, there are only two things that have consistently worked, wheels, and walls! 

‘Biden sees our country is being invaded,’ Trump told the outlet in an interview. ‘What is he going to do about the 15 million people from prisons, from mental institutions, insane asylums, and terrorists that have already come into our country?’ 

A Trump campaign spokesperson said the DHS decision shows that ‘President Trump is always right.’ 

According to government data, about 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded in Rio Grande Valley Sector, which includes Starr County, during the 2023 fiscal year through early August. 

DHS will waive statutes including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act to make way for construction, which will use funds from a congressional appropriation in 2019 for border wall construction. 

The waivers avoid time-consuming reviews and lawsuits challenging violation of environmental laws.

Starr County’s hilly ranchlands, sitting between Zapata and McAllen, Texas, is home to about 65,000 residents sparsely populating about 1,200 square miles that form part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas waived 26 federal laws to allow several miles of border wall construction in South Texas

Asylum seekers cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States on September 30, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas

Although no maps were provided in the announcement, a previous map shared during the gathering of public comments shows the piecemeal construction will add up to an additional 20 miles to the existing border barrier system in the area. 

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said it will start south of the Falcon Dam and go past Salineño, Texas.

‘The other concern that we have is that area is highly erosive. There´s a lot of arroyos,’ Eloy Vera, the county judge said, pointing out the creeks cutting through the ranchland and leading into the river.

Concern is shared with environmental advocates who say structures will run through public lands, habitats of endangered plants and species like the Ocelot, a spotted wild cat.

‘A plan to build a wall through will bulldoze an impermeable barrier straight through the heart of that habitat. It will stop wildlife migrations dead in their tracks. It will destroy a huge amount of wildlife refuge land. And it’s a horrific step backwards for the borderlands,’ Laiken Jordahl, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday afternoon.

During the Trump administration, about 450 miles of barriers were built along the southwest border between 2017 and January 2021. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott renewed those efforts after the Biden administration halted them at the start of his presidency.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection had no immediate comment.

The announcement prompted political debate by the Democratic administration facing an increase of migrants entering through the southern border in recent months, including thousands who entered the U.S. through Eagle Pass at the end of September.

‘A border wall is a 14th century solution to a 21st century problem. It will not bolster border security in Starr County,’ U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar said in a statement. ‘I continue to stand against the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective border wall.’

Political proponents of the border wall said the waivers should be used as a launching pad for a shift in policy.

‘After years of denying that a border wall and other physical barriers are effective, the DHS announcement represents a sea change in the administration’s thinking: A secure wall is an effective tool for maintaining control of our borders,’ Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said in a statement. 

‘Having made that concession, the administration needs to immediately begin construction of wall across the border to prevent the illegal traffic from simply moving to other areas of the border.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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