In the most significant development, U.S. President Joe Biden’s government on October 5 approved building a wall in Southern Texas to stave off record migrant crossings. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection defended the move by stating, “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.”
“Build the Wall” was the tenet of Trump’s presidency and never accepted by the Biden Government. Biden initially had no plans of carrying the border construction forward as he believed it ‘is not a serious policy solution.’
The latest move comes amid increasing criticism being faced by the Biden administration over his immigration policies in the wake of a recent surge of migrants crossing into the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on October 5 that there is “presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas.”
The notice published in the Federal Register further said Biden’s Department of Homeland Security would waive several laws, regulations, and other legal requirements to construct barriers in Starr County, Texas.
As the race for the White House gets intense in the run-up to the 2024 elections, Donald Trump was quick to take on U.S. President Joe Biden after he decided to take forward Trump’s policy. On Twitter, the former President wrote, “apologize to me and America for taking so long to get moving. So, watching Crooked Joe Biden break every environmental law in the book to prove that I was right was interesting. I will await his apology.”
Along with resuming the plan of building the wall, the U.S. administration further announced on October 5 that to control the influx of migrants from Venezuela arriving at the U.S-Mexico border, they will reinstitute deportation of migrants back to Venezuela. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told VOA that Venezuelan nationals who cross into the U.S. unlawfully will still be processed. But if they do not have a legal basis to remain in the country, they will be “swiftly removed” back to Venezuela. The decision comes as human rights groups warn the current exodus of Venezuelans is the largest migration crisis in recent Latin American history. The United Nations said in August, “More than 7.7 million people have left Venezuela in search of protection and a better life.”
The migrant crisis is reaching a breaking point in major U.S. cities like Chicago and New York City. Tents full of desperate migrants are lining Chicago’s iconic Lake Shore drive. According to NBC, 17,000 migrants have shown up since August, with officials expecting 1,200 migrants per day as the winter months approach. Migrants shelter inside O’Hare airport as Illinois’ governor slams President Biden for not doing enough.
The quest for a better life and opportunities has thousands of immigrants moving to New York. Officials have struggled to respond to the needs of 118,000 migrants since last year, with over 60,000 housed in the city’s shelter system. Mayor Eric Adams has called it a humanitarian crisis that could “destroy New York City” as the influx could cost $12 billion over three years.