The White House announced on Oct. 5 that it would waive 26 federal laws and allow the construction of nearly 20 extra miles of the border wall in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley along the U.S. border with Mexico. The action is a reversal of President Biden’s campaign promises and is in line with former President Trump’s signature border wall policy, something Trump quickly capitalized on. What’s behind Biden’s pivot?
Biden said he cannot stop federal funding from being used to construct sections of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico once the funds have been appropriated by Congress. He also said he still does not think the wall works in deterring the flow of migrants. The announcement comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken along with other high level American officials are in Mexico City discussing migration and other issues.
U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected the U.S. wall plan and called it a step backwards. Lopez Obrador said on Oct. 2 that nearly 10,000 migrants are heading to the U.S. border each day.He also joined Columbian President Gustavo Petro in blaming U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba for the influx. Migrants from Venezuela and Cuba make up a large percentage of the travelers. Many of those migrants say that deteriorating political and economic conditions in their countries have led them to take the risky journey.
U.S. response to the flow of migrants
The latest influx of migrants across the U.S. southern border has prompted both Republican and Democratic officials to ask the administration for help. New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams is traveling through Latin America to inform migrants that his city is “at capacity”. New York received nearly 120,000 migrants in 2022.Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the deployment of a controversial floating barrier in July 2023 as part of a plan to deter migrants. One migrant’s body was discovered in August floating along the barrier installed in the Rio Grande, and another was found stuck in razor wire. Although details of the deaths were not clear, the installment sparked backlash in both the U.S. and Mexico. It was followed by a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice. The case is now caught up in court battles.
There are also reports of heavy-handed treatments of migrants at the border.
A video taken on Sept. 28 shows a migrant struggling beneath a barbed wire fence while a man in a Texas National Guard uniform yells at him. The incident occurred on the U.S. side of the Rio Bravo River.
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