Biden Approves New Section Of Border Wall As Mexico Crossings Rise

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2018: U.S. Army troops install coils of concertina wire near the banks of the Rio Grande along the U.S. border with Mexico in Brownsville, Texas, on Nov. 13, 2018. More than 5,000 U.S. military troops are in the southwest border region to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents as they prepare for the expected arrival of thousands of Central American immigrants. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

US President Joe Biden’s administration is to build a section of border wall in southern Texas in an effort to stop rising levels of immigration.

Around 20 miles (32km) will be built in Starr County along its border with Mexico, where officials report high numbers of crossings.

Building a border wall was a signature policy of Donald Trump as president and fiercely opposed by Democrats.

In 2020, Mr Biden promised he would not build another foot of wall if elected.

But the rising number of illegal border crossings has made the issue a vulnerable one for the president.

More than 245,000 crossings have been made this year, government data shows, and September is expected to be a record month.

Several US cities say they are feeling the strain of the influx.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams predicted the cost of housing the more than 100,000 new arrivals since last year will rise to $12bn over the next three years.

Mr Adams is travelling to Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador this week to discourage migrants from setting out. “We are at capacity,” he said on Tuesday.

President Biden’s secretary of homeland security referred to an “acute and immediate need” to build the new section of wall and prevent unlawful entries.

Dozens of federal laws have been waived in order to approve its construction, including the Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.

The move has angered environmentalists, who say the structures will cut through the habitats of endangered plants and animals.

“It’s disheartening to see President Biden stoop to this level, casting aside our nation’s bedrock environmental laws to build ineffective wildlife-killing border walls,” said Laiken Jordahl, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to a proposal by US Customs and Border Protection, the barriers will consist of large bollards embedded in a concrete base, as well as gates, cameras and CCTV equipment.

Homeland Security said it would use funding secured during Donald Trump’s presidency to build the new section.

It is the first time the Biden administration has used its powers to approve the construction of new walls – something that was done often during Mr Trump’s time in office, when 450 miles was built.

US-Mexico border barrier route

Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, Mr Trump blamed the president for causing the crisis by repealing his strict border policies and now having to reintroduce them.

“He has to do all of the [other] things that we were doing,” he said.

Mr Biden has been facing increasing criticism over his immigration policies in the wake of a recent surge of migrants crossing into the US.

US Border Patrol apprehended 181,059 people along the southern border in August compared with 132,648 in July, according to the latest data.

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said that 10,000 people arrived at the border every day last week alone.

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