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Biden administration criticized over new border wall construction

The White House said it is unable to stop construction of 20 miles of border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting new criticism from the ACLU.
Biden administration sued for border wall it doesn't want to build
Posted at 12:33 PM, Oct 05, 2023

The Biden Administration is drawing new criticism for its decision to proceed with the construction of new fencing at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

In a statement released on Thursday, The American Civil Liberties Union said the change in policy was a politically motivated decision that would be "wasteful and ineffective." 

President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday that a congressional appropriation is forcing him to build the wall. 

"The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t. In the meantime, there’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated for. I can’t stop that," he said, adding he doesn't believe the border wall works.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House believes "there are more effective ways to secure the border."

The wall will go up in Starr County, Texas, which is located about 40 miles west of McAllen, Texas. In order to build the wall, officials say that federal public health, environmental, and cultural preservation laws have to be waived in order to expedite the wall's construction. 

SEE MORE: Biden administration waives 26 federal laws for 20-mile border wall

“The Biden administration’s decision to rush into border wall construction marks a profound failure," said Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at the ACLU. "On the campaign trail, President Biden put it best when he said that the border wall is not a serious policy solution – and we couldn’t agree more. Instead of upholding this promise, the Biden administration is doubling down on the failed policies of the past that have proven wasteful and ineffective."

Some of the laws overridden include the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, which DHS said it needed to bypass to facilitate construction funded by Congress in 2019.

After an initial decline in encounters at the U.S. and Mexico border, Customs and Border Protection reported over 232,000 encounters, marking the most since last December. 

Fiscal year 2023 is on track to either meet or exceed record border counters, CBP data indicates. 

The U.S. has tried to change methods for gaining entry into the country for those seeking asylum. The Biden administration implemented a mobile app for people to book a time to present themselves for asylum. 

The ACLU has denounced those efforts by the Biden administration as well. 

"Through litigation, public advocacy, and mobilization, we continue to fight for the right of people fleeing persecution to seek asylum in the U.S., showing up with our affiliates, allies, members, and supporters in the courts, the streets, and in the halls of power to protect this crucial right," the ACLU said. 

Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the American Civil Liberties Union was suing the Biden Administration for its decision to construct more fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border. The story has been updated.

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