Biden and Trump are continuously making headlines as they compete in the 2024 presidential election race. Trump seems to be crumbling under the pressure of his legal battles but celebrated a win this week as something he set in motion as president is causing Biden some serious issues.
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We all remember just how keen Donald Trump was on building a wall to stop migrants from entering the United States. Well, his wish is now coming true… but under Biden’s presidency. This has caused a whole lot of controversy given that this signature policy of Trump’s was fiercely opposed by Democrats, including Biden.
So how has this happened? And what have Biden and Trump had to say about it? Let’s get into it.
President Biden’s wall
On Wednesday 6 October, Biden’s administration waived over 24 federal laws to allow for more barriers to be built along the US-Mexican border. In an announcement about the process, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said there was an ‘acute and immediate need’ for these to be built.
As a candidate, Biden vowed that there would ‘not be another foot’ of border barrier construction erected under his watch. Now, around 32km of barriers will be erected.
Biden has been heavily criticised by both Republicans who are dubbing him a hypocrite and Democrats who are urging him to change course. On Thursday, the President of the United States told reporters in the Oval Office:
I’ll answer one question on the border wall: The border wall – the money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate it, to redirect that money. They didn’t, they wouldn’t.
And in the meantime, there’s nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can’t stop that.
Biden even said he doesn’t believe that border walls work. However, as Mayorkas explained in a news conference in Mexico City:
There is no new administration policy with respect to the border wall.
We have repeatedly asked Congress to rescind this money, but it has not done so, and we are compelled to follow the law.
Reactions to Biden’s decision
On Thursday 6 October, it was announced that America would resume deportations of illegal Venezuelan migrants. According to the BBC, 50,000 Venezuelans arrived at the US-Mexico border in the month of September alone.
This is only adding fuel to the fire as people react to Biden’s border barrier move. Democratic representative Henry Cuellar, whose district includes Starr County where the barriers will be built, told the BBC:
I am still against a 14th-Century solution - called 'the wall' - for a 21st-Century problem. I want to see more personnel, more technology.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the policy ‘cruel’ and urged Biden to ‘reverse course’.
Meanwhile, Trump predictably took to his social media platform Truth Social to quip:
Will Joe Biden apologise to me and America for taking so long to get moving?
BBC: Biden attacked from both sides over new Texas border wall
CNN: Biden says border walls don’t work as administration bypasses laws to build more barriers in South Texas