The Biden administration plans to resume construction of the levee in the Rio Grande Valley at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The story: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week confirmed that the construction of the 13.4 mile stretch of the levee will continue. The decision was made after pressure from local politicians and residents who reportedly cited the ongoing rise of illegal crossings at the border.
The engineer formation said it’s part of Custom and Border Patrol’s border infrastructure plan.
“In support of CBP’s border infrastructure program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has resumed DHS-funded design and construction support on approximately 13.4 miles of levee in the Rio Grande Valley that were partially excavated or at various levels of construction when work on the wall was paused for review,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement on Twitter.
Worth noting: The USACE highlighted that the work will only involve the repair of the Rio Grande flood levee and not the border wall itself.
“Wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law. Per DHS, we’ve started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley’s flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier,” USACE added in a follow-up tweet.
In detail: According to Fox News, repair efforts are expected to start in six months to stop flooding, followed by the installment of a concrete levee wall with safety barriers.
How we got here: President Joe Biden halted border construction on his first day in office, claiming it is “not a serious policy solution.” He gave agencies 60 days to figure out a plan on how to proceed, given that Congress approved funding for the wall for this year as well.
Since then, the Biden administration has been struggling with an uptick of migrants at the border, including a significant number of migrant children. The administration refused to call the situation a crisis and later claimed the surge is “seasonal.”
In early April, it was reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told colleagues that they might continue construction along the border wall to fill in some “gaps” in the barrier.
Later that month, the Department of Homeland Security explained in a statement that it will take “some steps” to “protect border communities from physical dangers.”
Regarding the Rio Grande Valley’s flood barrier system, the department said: “Construction under the prior administration blew large holes into the Rio Grande Valley’s flood barrier system to make way for a border wall. The flood barrier system had long provided low-lying regions of Hidalgo County, Texas, protection from catastrophic flooding, and these breaches have threatened local communities. DHS will start work to quickly repair the flood barrier system to protect border communities. This work will not involve expanding the border barrier.”
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