Biden’s Border Backtrack: Promises Broken in Wall Construction

Biden once stood firm on a promise many wanted to believe: “Not another foot of wall” would be constructed under his leadership. But recent events are painting a different picture for those who believed in a more compassionate and progressive approach to immigration.

In a shock move, the Biden administration is waiving a staggering 26 laws – many critical to environmental protection, public health, and cultural preservation – all to accelerate construction on Trump’s controversial border wall in southern Texas. And where you ask? Right at what’s described as a major hotspot for “high illegal entry” in Starr County.

Activists everywhere are reeling. How does one square away Biden’s prior assurances, including a 2021 executive order declaring that the massive border wall wasn’t “a serious policy solution,” with this recent action? Not to mention, where has the promise gone that no taxpayer dollars would further fund the wall’s construction?

This isn’t just about a broken promise on border wall construction. It’s about the Biden administration sidelining crucial environmental laws, many of which had already suffered under Trump. Laiken Jordahl, an advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, put it bluntly: “It’s disheartening to see President Biden… casting aside our nation’s bedrock environmental laws for ineffective wildlife-killing border walls.” Starr County, renowned for its unique biodiversity, now faces imminent threat from bulldozers and construction.

Among the laws being put aside are the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and laws essential for species and Native American protections. The consequences? The administration can sidestep public reviews and dodge potential lawsuits, essentially speeding up the wall’s construction.

However, what really raises eyebrows is the rationale provided by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He cites an “acute and immediate need” for these barriers to curb unlawful entries, a sentiment that echoes harmful xenophobic narratives, essentially suggesting that desperate asylum seekers pose such a threat that bypassing vital laws becomes essential.

While the Biden administration emphasizes that the construction will utilize funds sanctioned in 2019, one can’t help but question the reasons behind this rush. Is it truly because of an alarming surge in asylum seekers at the southern border? Or is it merely a narrative concocted by certain groups to amplify anti-immigrant sentiments?

For young and progressive readers who champion compassion, environmental conservation, and justice, this move feels like a massive step backward. It’s a poignant reminder to always hold leaders accountable, no matter which side of the aisle they’re on.