Biden is wrong: Congress did not require more border wall construction | The Hill
Category: News & PoliticsVia: texan1211 • one month ago • 13 comments
By: Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez (The Hill)
by Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez , opinion contributor - 10/18/23 8:30 AM ET
Not far from where I grew up in South Texas, Spanish moss drips from the trees at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge like a bridal veil. At another nature preserve to the west, an observation tower lets hikers climb above those trees to peek into Mexico. West of that, near yet another of the region's sanctuaries for native plants and animals, the Biden administration says it will build almost 20 miles of new border wall, breaking a promise the president made on the campaign trail.
Contrary to what President Biden claims, federal law does not require that he build the border wall.
Biden says he doesn't want to build the wall and admits that it won't stop migrants. And yet the administration claims not to have a choice. "The money was appropriated for the border wall," the president told reporters. "I can't stop that." His secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, added, "The law requires the government to use these funds for this purpose."
After a government-funding faceoff that shut down the federal government for 34 days in 2018 and 2019, Donald Trump signed a bill that included $1.4 billion for border barriers. That bill, signed in February 2019, prioritizes flashy designs like the concrete and steel bollards that then-President Trump liked over the high-tech digital surveillance techniques Democrats prefer.
But it said nothing about a requirement.
The law is clear that the money "shall be authorized." It doesn't say that the money must be spent. Later in 2019, first in June, then in July, Congress passed other bills to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but neither of those laws touched border wall construction.
Just before the year ended, Congress passed yet another budget bill. It again set aside $1.4 billion for border wall construction. This time it specified that the money "shall be available only" for "construction of a barrier system along the southwest border."
If Biden truly thinks the border wall is misguided, or even if he just thinks he ought to keep the promise he made, his administration should put up a fight rather than blame Congress.
The administration could start by slow-walking compliance with the 2019 budget bills. Since Congress wants money spent on a border barrier system, it's not a stretch to say that it meant some of that money to be spent on projects that don't involve pouring more concrete and erecting steel pillars where currently there are none. In fact, DHS already defines a border barrier system to include levees, lights, roads, water drainage infrastructure and steel columns. Given the leeway Congress has given it, DHS could spend money on fixing the problems that construction of the existing wall creates.
Please read the rest at the link due to copyright.
No fascist nonsense.
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