The Biden administration last week placed itself in the position of trying to explain how its decision to fast-track new construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border did not amount to a policy reversal. The president pledged during the 2020 campaign that he would not build “another foot” of the barrier. The environmental groups and others who cheered that decision were dismayed to see Biden officials announce Oct. 5 that they would waive environmental and conservation laws for the first time to install
roughly a dozen segments totaling 17 miles of new barriers in South Texas, the Washington Post reports.
The fact remains that the U.S. government spent a lot of money building new barriers to keep migrants out and did not get the result it wanted. Even with sections of border wall constructed, illegal border crossings have soared from about 500,000 per year in 2020 to more than 2 million per year, the highest levels ever. The topography of the Rio Grande River in Texas has also led to many acres of U.S. farmland being placed in between the border wall and the actual U.S.-Mexico border. CBP officials were asking for more physical barriers long before Trump promised a “big, fat, beautiful wall” when he ran for office in 2016. Such projects enjoyed bipartisan support a generation ago; the Secure Fence Act of 2006 passed the Senate and House by large margins.