In an unexpected shift, the Biden administration has suddenly greenlit the construction of a segment of the border wall begun during the Trump administration, despite prior claims of permanently abandoning any such endeavors. While the White House now cites adherence to budget allocations as the reason, many conservatives argue the move smacks of political opportunism rather than genuine policy commitment.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) provided a sharp response on the Thursday evening broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Ingraham Angle,” saying, “They’ve left that money sitting there for the entire administration so far, and they’ve had border wall material sitting on the ground for three years.” Patrick emphasized the administration’s delay in addressing border security, suggesting that the sudden pivot might be driven by political considerations for 2024.
Biden has no intention of competing the border wall. This is just more political theater.https://t.co/HY6Hdj7R92
— Michael Michelin (@MAMichelin59) October 6, 2023
The border wall has long been politically important, with President Trump making “build the wall” a key campaign slogan in 2016. On the other hand, Joe Biden pledged during the 2020 election cycle that “not another foot” of the wall would be constructed. This about-face on the issue is now raising eyebrows, especially when seen through the lens of its implications for the impending 2024 elections.
President Trump didn’t hesitate to weigh in. He posted on Truth Social, “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 illegal immigrants, from places unknown? I will await his apology!” Trump’s sharp commentary underscores the deep divide on border security between his administration and Biden’s.
Biden’s reversal stipulated waivers for “the expeditious construction of barriers and roads” in Starr County, Texas. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated the construction addressed “an acute and immediate need to prevent unlawful entries into the United States.” Such language mirrors the urgency often cited by conservative leaders but previously dismissed by many Democrats.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended the move, stating that the funds for the wall’s construction originated from a 2019 appropriations measure adopted during Trump’s tenure. This explanation, however, seems tangled in complexities. If the appropriations were the genuine reason, why hadn’t the administration acted earlier? The bigger narrative suggests Biden might be attempting to bolster his stance on border security amid rising encounters at the southern boundary and dwindling approval ratings.
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that only 23% of American adults approve of how Biden handles the southern border situation. Given such low ratings and the renewed emphasis on border security, it’s hard not to view the wall’s construction as a politically expedient move.
Not surprisingly, some liberal voices have expressed disappointment. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke described the action as “impotent political posturing,” reiterating the Democratic stance that “walls don’t work.” From the Beyond Borders program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, Roberto Lopez remarked, “President Obama built Bush’s wall and now Biden is building Trump’s.”
Meanwhile, those advocating for stricter border controls see this as an affirmation. Ira Mehlman from the Federation for American Immigration Reform commented, “It’s an admission on the part of the administration that the wall is effective.”
In this unfolding scenario, one thing is clear: The sudden shift in border wall construction under Biden’s administration will undoubtedly spark intense debates in the coming days, testing both the president’s leadership and the country’s demand that something be done immediately to address the illegal immigration crisis hammering America.