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Fox News reported on Wednesday that Democrat President Joe Biden reversed course after halting construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall, and will now resume construction of a lengthy section of wall in Texas as the administration continues to grapple with a worsening border crisis. However, U.S. officials later disputed the report and said that the work being done was repair work on a flood levee.
“Fox News has confirmed via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that construction on a 13.4 mile stretch of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley will *RESUME* after pressure from local residents & politicians,” Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter. “The Biden admin previously halted all wall construction in Jan.”
BREAKING: .@FoxNews has confirmed via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that construction on a 13.4 mile stretch of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley will *RESUME* after pressure from local residents & politicians.
The Biden admin previously halted all wall construction in Jan.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 12, 2021
About an hour later, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) responded to Melugin, writing: “In support of CBP’s border infrastructure program, USACE has resumed DHS-funded design & construction support on approx. 13.4 miles of levee in the Rio Grande Valley that were partially excavated or at various levels of construction when work on the wall was paused for review.”
“To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law,” USACE added. “Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.”
To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law. Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.
— USACE HQ (@USACEHQ) May 13, 2021
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a conversation with ICE employees last month that the administration was considering finishing “gaps in the wall.” A report by CNN last month said that the U.S. is on track to see 2 million migrants on the southern border this year, which is more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska — combined.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection data published Tuesday showed that immigration arrests and detentions on the U.S.-Mexico border shot up in April to 178,622, a 3% increase from March, the highest in the history of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The media tried to spin the news as a bit of a win for the Biden administration because the surge in arrests of illegal aliens was driven in large part by single adults while the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended fell.
Former Trump administration officials and immigration officials, however, were not falling for the spin and instead slammed the extremely high number as being disastrous for the country.
“From day one, the Biden administration has pursued policies that have fueled this crisis, despite receiving dozens of briefings during the transition from myself and other professionals at the Department of Homeland Security warning them of the consequences of doing so,” Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said. “The administration has reversed sound immigration policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols, asylum cooperative agreements with Northern Triangle countries, and construction of the border wall system.”
“These actions will continue to have immense costs not just for our law enforcement, but for working Americans and our communities, as well,” Wolf added. “Until this administration applies a consequence for coming here illegally, these numbers are going to remain at crisis levels. Make no mistake: this is not just a humanitarian crisis on our border – it is a security crisis that is giving drug cartels and human smugglers a historic opportunity to expand their operations in the Western Hemisphere.”
The Government Accountability Office launched an investigation into the Biden administration in March to determine whether it “broke the law by freezing the money in violation of budget rules designed to keep Congress in control of the cash flow,” Politico reported. “The probe highlights the challenge presidents have historically faced in fulfilling campaign promises that require money to be spent — or suspended — at odds with Congress’ intent.”
Editor’s Note: This report has been updated to include additional information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The title has also been altered for clarity.