Biden dismisses fury concerning the construction of the border wall


Biden dismisses fury concerning the construction of the border wall

President Joe Biden on Friday dismissed criticism of his decision to start rebuilding Donald Trump's border wall, shrugging off anger by repeating his argument that he had no choice. 'Oh, the wall thing, is that what you're talking about?,' Biden said when asked why his party didn't reappropriate the funds when it controlled Congress. 'Yeah. I was told I had no choice. Congress passes legislation to build something, whether it is an aircraft carrier, wall, or provide for a tax cut, I can't say I don't like it.'

President Joe Biden on Friday dismissed criticism of his decision to start rebuilding Donald Trump’s border wall, shrugging off anger by repeating his argument that he had no choice. ‘Oh, the wall thing, is that what you’re talking about?,’ Biden said when asked why his party didn’t reappropriate the funds when it controlled Congress. ‘Yeah. I was told I had no choice. Congress passes legislation to build something, whether it is an aircraft carrier, wall, or provide for a tax cut, I can’t say I don’t like it.’

Many Democrats are furious with the president for resuming construction on the border wall, calling it hypocritical and a play for votes in the 2024 election. Rep. Nanette Barragán, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, pointed out that 'this decision is not in line with the current Administration's commitments to end border wall construction.' And former Housing Secretary Julián Castro said it was a 'flip flop.' He accused Biden of making a play for votes in the 2024 election. 'This is responsive to the pressure, especially the attacks from Republicans that Biden has gotten, that I think he and his team are probably afraid is making him seem too soft on immigration,' Castro said Thursday night on MSNBC.

Many Democrats are furious with the president for resuming construction on the border wall, calling it hypocritical and a play for votes in the 2024 election. Rep. Nanette Barragán, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, pointed out that ‘this decision is not in line with the current Administration’s commitments to end border wall construction.’ And former Housing Secretary Julián Castro said it was a ‘flip flop.’ He accused Biden of making a play for votes in the 2024 election. ‘This is responsive to the pressure, especially the attacks from Republicans that Biden has gotten, that I think he and his team are probably afraid is making him seem too soft on immigration,’ Castro said Thursday night on MSNBC.

'And so they're taking a political gamble here. And the gamble is that by basically what they think of as moving to the middle on immigration and seem harsher and seeming harsher on it, that they're going to gain more votes in 2024 than they'll lose from unenthusiastic progressives or allies.' A Gallup poll this summer found that most Americans believe the crisis on the border is a problem: 39% think it's a 'crisis,' 33% a 'major problem,' and 22% a 'minor problem. Biden's Republican rivals have slammed his administration's record on the issue, saying the president is not doing enough to stem illegal crossings at the country's southern border.

‘And so they’re taking a political gamble here. And the gamble is that by basically what they think of as moving to the middle on immigration and seem harsher and seeming harsher on it, that they’re going to gain more votes in 2024 than they’ll lose from unenthusiastic progressives or allies.’ A Gallup poll this summer found that most Americans believe the crisis on the border is a problem: 39% think it’s a ‘crisis,’ 33% a ‘major problem,’ and 22% a ‘minor problem. Biden’s Republican rivals have slammed his administration’s record on the issue, saying the president is not doing enough to stem illegal crossings at the country’s southern border.

Illegal border crossings continue to be at record highs. More than 800,000 migrants crossed illegally between May and September. 'The best way I can explain it is that these are internal forces inside the Biden White House that are reacting to [high immigration numbers] and not taking into consideration the ugly, visceral negative reaction that Biden supporters in the Latino community are going to have against this action,' former Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez told The Hill newspaper. 'It's not going to be received with applause and happiness. Quite the opposite. There's going to be a great degree of sadness, and then anger that they took the steps.' Even Democratic allies are scratching their heads over Biden's decision.

Illegal border crossings continue to be at record highs. More than 800,000 migrants crossed illegally between May and September. ‘The best way I can explain it is that these are internal forces inside the Biden White House that are reacting to [high immigration numbers] and not taking into consideration the ugly, visceral negative reaction that Biden supporters in the Latino community are going to have against this action,’ former Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez told The Hill newspaper. ‘It’s not going to be received with applause and happiness. Quite the opposite. There’s going to be a great degree of sadness, and then anger that they took the steps.’ Even Democratic allies are scratching their heads over Biden’s decision.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden promised not to build another foot of Donald Trump's border wall. But now Biden argues he had to restart construction because he has to spend the funds the way Congress allocated them. Representative Henry Cuellar, whose district encompasses Starr County where the new construction will take place, said he's not happy with the decision. 'I am still against a 14th-Century solution - called 'the wall' - for a 21st-Century problem,' he said in a statement. 'I want to see more personnel, more technology'.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden promised not to build another foot of Donald Trump’s border wall. But now Biden argues he had to restart construction because he has to spend the funds the way Congress allocated them. Representative Henry Cuellar, whose district encompasses Starr County where the new construction will take place, said he’s not happy with the decision. ‘I am still against a 14th-Century solution – called ‘the wall’ – for a 21st-Century problem,’ he said in a statement. ‘I want to see more personnel, more technology’.

And Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the president for his 'cruel' move to resume border wall construction. She urged him to 'reverse course. In a statement on Thursday night, the New York congresswoman slammed the move, saying: 'The Biden administration was not obligated to expand border wall construction — and it was certainly not obligated to waive several environmental laws to expedite construction.' 'A wall does nothing to stop people fleeing poverty and violence from coming to the United States...Walls only serve to push migrants into more remote areas, increasing their chances of death. It is a cruel policy,' she added.

And Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the president for his ‘cruel’ move to resume border wall construction. She urged him to ‘reverse course. In a statement on Thursday night, the New York congresswoman slammed the move, saying: ‘The Biden administration was not obligated to expand border wall construction — and it was certainly not obligated to waive several environmental laws to expedite construction.’ ‘A wall does nothing to stop people fleeing poverty and violence from coming to the United States…Walls only serve to push migrants into more remote areas, increasing their chances of death. It is a cruel policy,’ she added.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration made the stunning announcement it will build 20 miles of border wall on the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security said it's waiving 26 federal laws to start constructing a new 'physical barrier' that was started under Donald Trump . It was a sharp reversal. The Biden White House has consistently slammed Trump's tough migration policy and even canceled the wall construction when Biden took office. On his first day in office, Biden even declared that building a wall wasn't 'a serious policy solution.'

Earlier this week, the Biden administration made the stunning announcement it will build 20 miles of border wall on the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security said it’s waiving 26 federal laws to start constructing a new ‘physical barrier’ that was started under Donald Trump . It was a sharp reversal. The Biden White House has consistently slammed Trump’s tough migration policy and even canceled the wall construction when Biden took office. On his first day in office, Biden even declared that building a wall wasn’t ‘a serious policy solution.’

The administration, however, is facing an increase in migrant crossings and pressure to deal with the situation. Even some big-city mayors, who are Democrats, are pressuring the administration to stem the tide of incoming migrants, many of whom are then shipped to cities across the country. Biden, meanwhile, argued Congress had appropriated the money to build the wall on the country's Southern border so he had to use the funds that way. '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 in the Oval Office on Thursday.

The administration, however, is facing an increase in migrant crossings and pressure to deal with the situation. Even some big-city mayors, who are Democrats, are pressuring the administration to stem the tide of incoming migrants, many of whom are then shipped to cities across the country. Biden, meanwhile, argued Congress had appropriated the money to build the wall on the country’s Southern border so he had to use the funds that way. ‘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 in the Oval Office on Thursday.

Asked whether he thought the border wall was effective, he replied: 'no.' Indigenous groups and environmental organizations slammed the move, noting the damage that will come to the local landscape and residents. The policies the administration is waiving are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The waivers avoid time-consuming reviews and lawsuits challenging violations of environmental laws.

Asked whether he thought the border wall was effective, he replied: ‘no.’ Indigenous groups and environmental organizations slammed the move, noting the damage that will come to the local landscape and residents. The policies the administration is waiving are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The waivers avoid time-consuming reviews and lawsuits challenging violations of environmental laws. 

Starr County's hilly ranchlands, sitting between Zapata and McAllen, Texas, are home to about 65,000 residents sparsely populating about 1,200 square miles that form part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 'It's absolutely mystifying as to why they thought it was a good idea to issue these waivers,' said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). 'Starr County is home to some of the most spectacular and biologically important habitat left in Texas, and now bulldozers are preparing to rip right through it. This is a horrific step backward for the borderlands.' And immigrations rights groups accused the administration of playing politics.

Starr County’s hilly ranchlands, sitting between Zapata and McAllen, Texas, are home to about 65,000 residents sparsely populating about 1,200 square miles that form part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. ‘It’s absolutely mystifying as to why they thought it was a good idea to issue these waivers,’ said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). ‘Starr County is home to some of the most spectacular and biologically important habitat left in Texas, and now bulldozers are preparing to rip right through it. This is a horrific step backward for the borderlands.’ And immigrations rights groups accused the administration of playing politics.

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