Mayorkas claims border wall 'is not the answer' after DHS cites 'immediate need' for it

"There is no new Administration policy with respect to border walls."

On Thursday, President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas attempted to walk back statements made this week about the need to waive dozens of federal laws to build a border wall in Texas.

Mayorkas said in a statement, "I want to address today’s reporting relating to a border wall and be absolutely clear. 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."

He added, "That remains our position and our position has never wavered. The language in the Federal Register notice is being taken out of context and it does not signify any change in policy whatsoever."

The statement comes a day after his Department of Homeland Security posted an announcement in the US Federal Register that outlines the construction of 20 miles of the border wall in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, where the administration has said there is "high illegal entry" including encounters with over 245,000 illegal immigrants in the sector in the 2023 fiscal year.

Mayorkas said in the announcement that he was using his authority provided by Congress to waive 26 federal laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act stating, “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 pursuant to sections 102(a) and 102(b) of [the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996].”

In 2021, shortly after Biden was sworn into office, he halted construction of the border wall to fulfill his promise as a presidential candidate that there would "not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration," calling the construction of the wall under the Trump administration "just one example of the prior administration’s misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly and humane way."

The Biden administration is continuing to face a record surge of illegal immigration at the US southern border. It was reported last week that there were over 260,000 encounters in September, the highest monthly total on record.

According to CBP data, the fiscal year 2023 has seen over 2.2 million illegal immigrants cross the border following the Biden administration’s rollback of Trump-era immigration policies, including its halt of construction on the border wall, selling off border wall materials, and suing Texas for erecting border barriers.

On Wednesday, the Trump campaign said in a statement to Fox News, "President Trump is always right. That’s why he built close to 500 miles of powerful new wall on the border, and it would have been finished by now. Instead, Crooked Joe Biden turned our country into one giant sanctuary for dangerous criminal aliens."
Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was grilled on Thursday by reporters over Biden's claim that the border wall doesn't work and questioned why the president had contradicted members of his own administration, who have stated that a barrier is necessary, and questioned why he was violating his campaign promise by allowing a section of the wall to be built.
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