Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told employees he’s considering building more sections of the border wall to fill in “gaps,” The Washington Times reported Monday.
President Joe Biden stopped federal funding to the southern border wall, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials reportedly asked Mayorkas last week what his plans for the wall are, according to the Times. Biden issued a Jan. 20 executive order ceasing all construction on the southern border wall.
Biden’s decision to end the border emergency and halt funding to the wall “leaves room to make decisions” about finishing “gaps in the wall,” Mayorkas said, the Times reported.
“It’s not a single answer to a single question. There are different projects that the chief of the Border Patrol has presented and the acting commissioner of CBP [Customs and Border Protection] presented to me,” Mayorkas said, the Times reported.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 30, 2021
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials reportedly submitted future plans for how the agency would like the wall to be used, according to the Times.
“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD [Department of Defense] funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” Mayorkas told ICE officials, according to the Times. “But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”
Smugglers send large groups of asylum-seeking migrants through gaps in the southern border wall to occupy CBP agents, allowing for other groups to cross undetected, Fox News reported.
“The [border wall] project is ¾ done. At least, they should be allowed to tie together the primary fence. Otherwise, we’re trying to catch these people in the worst possible place. It’s just sucking our manpower,” a CBP agent processing a group of Brazilian migrants said, Fox News reported.
Biden gave Mayorkas 60 days to evaluate current federal contracts to work on the wall, Fox News reported. During the 60 days, taxpayer money continued to fund the contractors despite a pause on any construction or related work, according to Fox News.
“The government is paying contractors up to a million dollars a month to be on standby. That’s going to the total cost,” Associated General Contractors of America’s Brian Turnmail said, Fox News reported. “So, if the government takes a long time to resolve the dispute, that will cost taxpayers more.”
Preliminary numbers show officials apprehended over 171,000 migrants in March, including some 19,000 unaccompanied migrant minors, The Washington Post reported. Customs and Border Protection encountered over 100,000 migrants including more than 9,000 unaccompanied minors in February, according to the agency.
Neither the DHS or the DOD responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.