GOP rep introduces bill to restart border wall construction, days after Mexican president lauds Biden

FIRST ON FOX: A Republican congressman is introducing legislation that would require the Biden administration to resume construction of the wall at the southern border, as the migrant crisis continues to rage — and just days after Biden received praise from the Mexican president for not building any more wall.

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., this week is introducing the Finish The Wall Act, which would require the administration to resume border wall system construction within 24 hours of its enactment and prevent the cancelation of further contracts. The bill currently has 30 co-sponsors.

Over 450 miles of wall were constructed during the Trump administration, before construction was abruptly halted by the Biden administration. Since then the administration has moved to close some gaps — including in Arizona — but large-scale construction has so far been shelved.

Biden toured parts of the pre-Trump border barriers in his visit to El Paso, Texas on Sunday days after revealing new border security measures that included an expanded humanitarian parole program and the use of Title 42 to expel some Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans. But he did not announce any plans to expand the border wall.

MEXICAN PRESIDENT THANKS BIDEN FOR NOT BUILDING ANY MORE BORDER WALL, PUSHES FOR AMNESTY

President Joe Biden walks with U.S. Border Patrol agents along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

He then received praise on Tuesday from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for not building any more wall, despite the construction in Arizona.

“You are the first president of the United States in a very long time that has not built even one meter of wall,” Lopez Obrador told Biden at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City. “And we thank you for that, sir, although some might not like it, although the conservatives don’t like it.”

Lopez Obrador’s claim that conservatives are unhappy with the lack of border wall construction is accurate, with Higgins — a member of the House Homeland Security Committee — railing against the administration for its border policies.

“Since Biden was inaugurated, we’ve absolutely lost operational control of our southern border. We’ve lost our sovereignty, and our law enforcement professionals have been forced to become welcoming processors of human beings crossing in massive waves. In 2 years, we’ve had 4 million illegal crossings seeking asylum and over a million criminal runners. The runners are mostly young men who are very aggressive and they’re carrying backpacks loaded with drugs or herding sex-traffic victims,” he said in a statement.

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He accused the administration of running a “scripted show” for Biden’s border trip, and said that restoring the wall construction was only one part of what needed to be done to secure the border — the latest sign that Republicans, now in the majority in the House, intend to make the border crisis a central issue in the new Congress.

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“America demands and deserves effective border security. Completing the wall system is critical to our nation’s safety but the wall system is just one aspect of what we need to do to restore our sovereignty at the southern border,” he said, claiming that the U.S. has suffered “generational harm” under the administration.

Higgins’ bill would also require DHS to spend funding appropriated to the border wall, and to submit an implementation plan to Congress. It would also require all Customs and Border Protection stations to be up to date with fingerprinting requirements laid out in a 2005 law.

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Higgin’s bill marks the latest in a slew of legislation related to border security and immigration being introduced and that Republicans have pledged to pass in the chamber.

This week, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas introduced legislation to block the entry of illegal immigrants until the border is secure, while other Republicans introduced legislation that would divert funding from the U.N. to funding the border wall.