President Joe Biden's administration is now adopting a practice used during Donald Trump's presidency.
On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced the construction of a wall, installing 20 miles of border barriers in South Texas.
"There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the notice.
To achieve this, DHS is using executive action to override 26 federal laws in the region, causing concern among environmental activists.
Some of the laws overridden include the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, which DHS said it needed to bypass to facilitate construction funded by Congress in 2019.
Environmental advocates are worried that the construction will cut through public lands and habitats for endangered plants and animals.
“A plan to build a wall through will bulldoze an impermeable barrier straight through the heart of that habitat. It will stop wildlife migrations dead in their tracks. It will destroy a huge amount of wildlife refuge land. And it’s a horrific step backwards for the borderlands,” Laiken Jordahl, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Associated Press.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the project will not harm any natural resources.
"Congress appropriated fiscal year 2019 funds for the construction of border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley, and DHS is required to use those funds for their appropriated purpose,” CBP said. “CBP remains committed to protecting the nation’s cultural and natural resources and will implement sound environmental practices as part of the project covered by this waiver.”
During Trump's presidency, 450 miles of barriers were built from 2017 to January 2021, and President Biden's move contradicts his 2021 stance when he halted the construction during his first week in the White House.
Additionally, the wall faces opposition from many Democrats based on principle.
“A border wall is a 14th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. It will not bolster border security in Starr County,” U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said in a statement obtained by the AP. “I continue to stand against the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective border wall.”
Nonetheless, some within the party are urging action to address illegal immigration, especially with migrants inundating Democrat-run cities.
According to U.S. officials, as of August of this year, over 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded in this region.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com