The Biden administration promised to fill major gaps in Arizona’s border wall, but not much progress has been made in nearly ten months, leading to outrage from Republican House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green and Republican Arizona Rep. Eli Crane, who both spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on July 28 that they will close the gaps at Yuma’s Morelos Dam, where thousands of illegal migrants have poured through in recent months. Upon entering office, President Joe Biden ended the construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall and a subsequent surge in illegal immigration ensued across the southern border and Yuma was experiencing much of it. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Border Authorities Warn Of Greater Surge In Chinese Illegally Crossing Into US, Reveal Smuggling Routes)
Former President Donald Trump oversaw the construction of 452 miles of border wall during his four years in office, according to Politico, while, according to DHS, the Morelos dam gaps are 300 feet wide (Gap 1), 1,350 feet wide (Gap 2), and 50 feet wide (Gaps 3 and 4).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Jan. 6 that construction would officially begin “next week” to close the gaps. However, no new fencing has been constructed, Vice President for the National Border Patrol Council Art Del Cueto told the DCNF.
“It’s been [more than] 246 days since President Biden alleged that securing the border was a ‘top priority’ and promised to fill the gaps at the border wall in Yuma, Arizona—to no one’s surprise not a single slat has been installed to this day. We know walls work. Border Patrol Chief Ortiz knows walls work. Every frontline Border Patrol agent has been explicit that a border wall is one of the first things they need to respond to the crisis at the Southwest border,” Green told the DCNF.
Construction workers have dug holes and filled some of them with cement to serve as a foundation for the wall, according to Del Cueto.
“The Biden administration’s approach to this significant national security threat is business as usual, but that won’t work for the American people, Green said. “House Republicans are committed to constructing a border wall and securing our sovereign border.”
Crane, who represents Arizona’s second congressional district encompassing parts of Phoenix and northern Arizona, labeled the delay “disgusting.”
“The Biden Administration pretends to be concerned about migrants yet incentivizes people to illegally cross in the most dangerous places along our border. Last year, a 5-year-old child drowned as his mother attempted to cross illegally through one of the gaps near the Colorado River left wide open by this administration,” Crane told the DCNF.
More than 400,000 migrants have crossed through the gaps since DHS promised to fill the gaps, Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines told the DCNF.
“The fact that Secretary Mayorkas still hasn’t closed these deadly gaps – after claiming in July that he would – is disgusting. Biden’s presidency is a disaster, but this is a new low,” Crane said.
“They don’t want to use any of the materials that Trump has already paid for. They want to spend new money on new materials,” Lines said of why he believes things are moving slowly. “Under the Trump administration, they completed miles in a week, under the Biden administration, they have not been able to fulfill their commitment to close nine of the 11 gaps for over a year.”
Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly applauded and took credit for the Biden administration’s decision at the time to fill the gaps. Kelly’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
“After months of coordination and planning with the White House and DHS, Kelly’s office was able to secure a commitment from the administration to get this done. Kelly first pressed President Biden to close this and other gaps in December of 2021, and had numerous calls with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as the White House, to press them on approving the closures. Recently, in his sixth visit to the southern border, Kelly toured the site near the Morelos Dam where he also met with local leaders and law enforcement about how the gaps and border crisis were affecting their communities,” Kelly’s office said in a statement at the time.
Former Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey previously stacked shipping containers in some of the gaps, but those have since been taken down due to a lawsuit.
DHS didn’t respond to a request for comment. Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs also didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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