DHS Says It Will Close Gaps Along Southwest Border Wall As End Of Title 42 Looms
Authored by Jeff Louderback via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Nearly two years after newly elected President Joe Biden ordered a halt to construction on the project, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Dec. 13 that it will work to close gaps along the southwest border of the wall between the United States and Mexico.
Biden’s 2020 campaign promise was that he would not build “one more foot” of the border wall, which was one of former president Donald Trump’s most prominent objectives.
The Biden administration is confronted with finding solutions to address the end of Title 42, which is set to expire on Dec. 21. DHS has said that could lead to an estimated 9,000 to 14,000 illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico into the United States every day.
Created as part of the Public Health Service Act under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Title 42 was designed to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases in the United States.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Trump administration invoked the order to restrict migrant entry into the United States.
For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022, Customs and Border Protection stopped migrants more than 2,766,582 times, compared with 1.72 million times in fiscal year 2021, which was the previous high.
Once Title 42 is lifted, the number of migrants that Border Patrol agents must process will “likely be double or greater,” according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report released in September.
In addition to closing seven “small gaps” in the wall in the Yuma, Arizona, sector and filling in another space in the El Paso, Texas, sector, crews will also work on environmental issues surrounding the wall and finish building roads, according to DHS.
Overall, the new work will occur in the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector, which includes western Arizona and part of eastern California, and the El Paso sector, which covers western Texas and New Mexico.
Early in his tenure, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas indicated last year that gaps would have to be closed, but DHS has been slow to move forward with the task.
The gaps have allowed illegal immigrants to enter the United States and add to the record number of illegal border activity that has escalated since Biden took office in January 2021.
Building the border wall was one of Trump’s most widely discussed campaign promises in 2016. The Trump administration erected more than 450 miles of fencing and planned on adding around 300 more miles of construction.
After Biden took office, crews were permitted to fill in holes and tie down loose materials, but they were ordered to halt construction.
A Government Accountability Office audit conducted in 2021 discovered that 69 miles of the wall constructed during the Trump administration includes all of the technology and the roads.
Construction at some parts of the wall created environmental issues that need repairs, which will take place as part of the new project, according to DHS.
This work will include installing drainage systems, adding safety features to roadways, and remediating some construction sites between El Paso and San Diego, DHS said.
“Prior to work, the Department of Homeland Security will work closely with stakeholders, including impacted landowners, tribal, state and local elected officials, and federal agencies to seek input and help on prioritizing potential remediation activities within each sector,” the DHS said in a statement.
Border Patrol agents have frequently emphasized the importance of a wall to help control illegal immigration.
In El Paso, Border Patrol said its agents are stopping migrants around 2,400 times a day on average compared with approximately 1,700 each day in previous months.
The migration rate across from Mexico into Texas has recently spiked with the rapidly approaching end to Title 42.
Migrants processed under the policy are not permitted to request asylum in the United States and are removed from the country.
On paper, Title 42 covers the Canada and Mexico borders and migrants of all nationalities. It has mostly been used along the southern border to remove illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from the United States.
One of Biden’s first actions as president was ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy implemented under Trump.
Under that law, asylum-seekers were required to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed. Figures showed that the policy discouraged false asylum claims and decreased the number of illegal immigrants.
Fri, 12/16/2022 – 15:00