House GOP Introduces Bill to Restart Border Wall Construction, Bolster Security
House GOP Introduces Bill to Restart Border Wall Construction, Bolster Security

By Joseph Lord

House Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee have introduced a bill designed to strengthen security along the U.S. southern border.

The bill, called the Border Reinforcement Act, would require President Joe Biden’s administration to resume construction on a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Upon taking office in January 2021, Biden halted construction on the barrier, which the federal government has already paid for. Since Biden ended construction on the project, the materials have been lying along the border unused.

Migrants from Central and South America take part in a caravan heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border while carrying signs protesting the death of 40 migrants in last month’s fire at a Mexican detention center in Tapachula, Mexico, on April 23, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

The decision to halt construction after purchasing the materials, according to some estimates, has cost the United States at least $72 million.

The legislation also would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide monthly reports on illegal encounters. Republicans accuse DHS of trying to hide such data from the American people through late-night document dumps and other means.

Currently, the United States is dealing with an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants along the southern border. Republicans have made clear that they blame Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for the situation at the border, which they dub the “Biden border crisis.”

Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said in a New York Post op-ed on the Border Reinforcement Act that Republicans were trying to address the border “because Biden never will.”

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), in an interview with the “American Thought Leaders” program at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28, 2021. (The Epoch Times)

“Republicans made a Commitment to America last year to secure our borders and protect our communities,” Green wrote. The legislation, which Green said was “crafted with the insight of those on this crisis’ precipice,” was designed to keep this promise, he said.

“The Biden administration has abandoned our agents and sent the message that the laws concerning our sovereign borders are merely suggestions,” Green continued, noting that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized enough fentanyl along the southern border to kill 2.5 billion people—around a third of the entire human population.

“The terrifying part,” Green said, is that these are just the drug busts that are known. But he cited federal estimates showing that the drugs seized at the border account for no more than 10 percent of drugs being trafficked across the border.

Biden and Mayorkas, Green said, have “made clear they have no intention of securing our borders or restoring law and order. That’s why the committee has spent endless hours meticulously crafting real solutions to do it.”

Additionally, the bill would nullify the use of a mobile application called CBP One, which allows people to register for asylum in the United States.

Green expressed the GOP view that the CBP One app, which allows would-be asylees to register with the federal government prior to arrival in the United States, would further spur illegal immigration.

“Our goal is to give agents the tools they need to secure our border, not technological Band-Aids that incentivize more illegal immigration, such as the CBP One app,” Green said. The Biden administration, Green added, “is using the app as a tool to allow illegal aliens to schedule appointments at ports of entry and be expeditiously released into the country’s interior.”

To address these concerns, the bill would return the app to its original, wholly commercial use: facilitating the movement of perishable cargo into the interior quickly.

To help further combat illegal immigration, the bill would increase funding for state and local law enforcement involved in securing their states from illegal immigrants. Many illegal aliens who cross the border—a black market smuggling industry monopolized by drug cartels—bring with them sex slaves, narcotics, firearms and other weapons, and other dangers.

“Unlike Secretary Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Committee knows this border crisis is one of the greatest security threats facing the American people,” Green concluded. “It is critical for Congress to pass the Border Reinforcement Act to deliver on our Commitment to America and restore order.”

Border security has been a top priority for Republicans since the ascent of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Because House Republicans are largely of a mind on the issue, it is likely that the legislation will breeze relatively easily through the House.

It could also win the support of some moderate Democrats, like Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who recently decried Biden’s proposed 2024 budget for not doing enough to combat illegal immigration.

However, if it makes its way out of the House, the bill is likely to have more trouble in the Senate. Democrats currently hold the majority in the upper chamber. Though the party has gone across the aisle to pass some legislation, including a bill overturning a D.C. law reducing penalties for violent crime, Democrats in the Senate have largely stood behind Biden’s immigration policy.

Even if the Senate passed the bill, it’s unlikely to win Biden’s signature. Republicans likely intend the legislation to be a messaging bill to put Democrats on the record about illegal immigration.

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