Biden Admin Commences Border Wall Construction Study with ‘No Plan to Build’

LA JOYA, TEXAS - JULY 01: An unfinished section of border wall is seen on July 01, 2021 in La Joya, Texas. Recently, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to build a state-funded border wall as a surge of mostly Central American immigrants crossing into the United States continues to …
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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the next study phase for the construction of a border barrier project covering 86 miles in the Rio Grande Valley. Last week, the agency opened the door for public comments as part of an environmental assessment. Despite the appearance of progress, CBP is already disclosing that it will not proceed with construction or new permanent land acquisitions at the conclusion of the study. The bureaucratic maneuver helps shield the agency from violating legal responsibilities to dispense with funds as Congress ordered.

In Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, Congress appropriated funds for the 86-mile construction project which the Biden Administration later urged subsequent lawmakers to cancel. Although the President has promised he will not use tax dollars to fund border wall construction, the administration is legally obligated to move forward with the study process due to the Congressional appropriation.

The latest announcement doubles down on the administration’s request to cancel funding, which the current Congress has yet to do. Until then, the obligation holds. The announcement begins what could be a lengthy environmental process designed more to adhere with federal funding laws rather than break ground as intended.

According to a Cambridge University Press research document analyzing more than 2,000 environmental studies, the time frame for completion of an impact statement ranged from 51 days to 18 years. Should the administration remain committed to not building wall projects, the environmental process can stretch almost indefinitely.

After announcing a pause in border wall construction in January, the administration faced claims by Republican lawmakers that the move violated impoundment laws regarding the failure to expend congressionally appropriated funds. In June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined the administration’s pause was a programmatic delay and did not violate any laws.

In a June press release, the White House acknowledged the legal obligation to expend the funds for wall construction:

Although most of the funds used for the border wall were diverted from other purposes, Congress provided DHS with some funding for border barrier projects. DHS is legally required to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose.

In the same announcement, the administration emphasized, “DHS will engage in a comprehensive review that includes detailed environmental impact analysis and remediation, and robust and substantive engagement with relevant stakeholders, including border community residents, their elected representatives, tribal communities, and environmental and other interested non-governmental organizations and advocates.” The statement signals the administration intends to be thorough in its public outreach and is in no hurry to break ground.

An agency spokesperson further told Breitbart Texas:

The environmental planning activities addressed in the news advisory of January 20, 2022, will not involve any construction of new border barrier or permanent land acquisition. The environmental assessment is unrelated to the levee remediation work in the RGV approved by DHS on April 30, 2021.

The public comment period will terminate on March 7, 2022.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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