Republican Texas representatives are demanding that the Biden administration explain its reason for changing its tune on border wall construction, according to a Wednesday letter first obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Over 20 Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Chip Roy are questioning how the Biden administration came to reverse its previous promise to the delegation of lawmakers sent Wednesday to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to the letter. Mayorkas initially wrote that there was an “immediate need” for such action in an Oct. 5 filing in the Federal Register initiating the construction, but quickly attempted to walk back the admission.
President Joe Biden pledged on Aug. 5, 2020, that there would “not be another foot of wall constructed” along the southern border under his administration.
Under Biden’s leadership, Border Patrol encounters of migrants crossing the southern border illegally skyrocketed to surpass 2 million in 2022 and 2023, respectively, according to federal data.
“While the continued building of the southern border wall is a welcome development – as more than 6 million migrants have been encountered at our border since Biden took office, with at least 1.7 million migrants evading Border Patrol completely the public notice issued by DHS, only pertains to building the wall in one Texas county – Starr County,” the lawmakers wrote.
Much of the construction will take place on the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which required that the Biden administration waive 26 federal laws.
The lawmakers raised concerns about the construction taking place at the center of a lawsuit alleging that the Biden administration’s pledge against border wall construction is harming Texans, according to the letter. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that Texas, Missouri and the Texas General Land Office of the State of Texas have the legal right to pursue legal action over the issue.
On Inauguration day in 2021, President Joe Biden terminated the Trump administration’s previous border wall construction. The Trump administration oversaw the construction of 452 miles of border wall during his four years in office, according to Politico
“The recent notice to restart border wall construction – only in Starr County – raises the question of whether or not DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are preempting a Starr County-specific lawsuit filed by GLO [General Land Office]. It also raises questions as to why the Biden administration is not restarting border wall construction in other border sectors,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Our border is still in chaos. The American people deserve to know the extent of the executive branch’s border security decisions and the motivations behind them,” the lawmakers wrote.
The Biden administration has also slowly filled in gaps in the border wall in Yuma, Arizona, which is a major crossing point for illegal immigration.
DHS didn’t immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.