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Report: Mayorkas weighing return to border wall construction

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alejandro mayorkas

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is reportedly mulling a return to construction of the southern border wall to fill in “gaps” in the current barrier.

The topic reportedly came up during a meeting between Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees, according to a Tuesday Washington Times report.

MORE ON MAYORKAS: Graham: ‘It’s time for Mayorkas to change course or change jobs’

“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” the DHS secretary reportedly told the group.

“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.”

MORE ON THE BORDER: Border Patrol: Nearly 1,000 migrants are crossing into US undetected per day

Mayorkas reportedly said some of that would include “gaps,” “gates” and areas “where the wall has been completed but the technology has not been implemented.”

Talking about the plan submitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mayorkas reportedly told those in the meeting, “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 presented to me.”

MORE ON THE BORDER: March migrant detentions at southern border hit 15-year record

Construction of former President Donald Trump’s signature project was halted by President Joe Biden the day he was sworn in. According to The Washington Times, the previous administration constructed about 460 miles of the wall, with most of that being in areas a barrier already existed but didn’t prevent anyone crossing the border by foot.

Trump himself was excited by the possible shift in policy by his successor.

MORE ON THE BORDER: AOC floats ‘reparations’ for some migrant families, rips Biden admin’s handling of migrants

“I think it’s great that they reversed themselves, but a lot of damage was done because we were gonna have that wall almost complete. You know, it delayed two and a half years because of lawsuits,” Trump told Newsmax on Tuesday.

“We started building it and we were almost finished and then they called an end to it. And it’s, you know, just incredible. But if they agree that they’re going to complete it — there’s very little to complete. If they agree that they’re going to complete it, that’s a great thing. That’s a very positive step.”

Asked about the Washington Times report during Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “Wall construction remains paused to the extent permitted by law, so some has already been funded through congressional authorization.”

“When the administration took office funds had been diverted from congressionally appropriated military construction projects and other appropriated purposes toward building the wall. Federal agencies are continuing to review wall contracts and develop a plan to submit to the president soon. It is paused. There is some limited construction that has been funded and allocated for but it is otherwise paused.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Immigration

Report: Deportations Dropped By 90% Under President Biden

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Deportation

Deportations of illegal immigrants have dropped by 90% under President Biden, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

“Immigration enforcement, as measured by the number of aliens removed from the country, has collapsed to the lowest level since the mid-1990s, according to ICE deportation records the Center has obtained. Under policies imposed by the Biden administration, removals dropped by 80 percent since last year’s low point during the pandemic lockdown, and by 90 percent since 2019, the last normal year for ICE operations,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said in the report.

The report explained that, “Under Biden Policies, ICE Removals Have Plummeted to a Fraction of Normal Levels. On his first day of office (January 20, 2021), President Biden issued a directive halting virtually all deportations for 100 days and greatly restricting immigration enforcement activity. Following a lawsuit by Texas asserting grave fiscal and public safety harm to its citizens from a near-suspension of federal immigration enforcement, within two weeks federal judge Drew Tipton halted the deportation freeze and later enjoined it indefinitely pending further legal action.”

“The restrictions on other enforcement actions have remained in place with some minor modifications, meaning that, in effect, ICE has been limited to removing known or suspected terrorists, aliens convicted of very serious crimes (mostly those defined as ‘aggravated felons’), and recent illegal arrivals,” the report added.

“The number of aliens removed who had serious criminal convictions also has declined by over 50 percent from 2020 and by 65 percent since 2019,” the report observed.
The Biden administration’s restrictions on ICE have resulted in the highest levels of illegal immigration on record as the agency has been “functionally abolished.”

The Washington Post reported, “ICE under President Biden is an agency on probation. The new administration has rejected calls from some Democrats to eliminate the agency entirely, but Biden has placed ICE deportation officers on a leash so tight that some say their work is being functionally abolished.”

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