OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a Trump-era project to finish a section of the southern border wall in California.
Friends of Friendship Park told KPBS that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said that the primary and secondary border fences along the park will be replaced with 30-foot walls.
“The park, a binational spot between San Diego and Tijuana, represents the western-most point of the U.S. along the border with Mexico. It has been the only place along the southern border where people in the U.S. could see and even touch relatives in Mexico,” the report stated.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved the designs, which were initially authorized by the Trump administration in the budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Daily Mail reported.
The project will replace and further extend existing barriers with two walls that began being added during the Trump administration.
“This latest announcement really amounts to the complete desecration of this historic location,” said Rev. John Fanestil, a longtime Friendship Park advocate. “We believe that the Biden administration should not be putting the finishing touches on Donald Trump’s border wall at Friendship Park.”
“We were kind of under the illusion that when Border Field State Park was going to reopen, they were going to reopen Friendship Park as well,” Rev. Seth Clark told KPBS. “But that has not happened.”
The administration insists the construction is to “replace” existing walls, despite using Trump-era designs.
Last week, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took an action of his own to help secure the border.
The governor signed an executive order that has instructed the state’s National Guard to be deployed and to bring the illegal immigrants back to the border.
“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” the governor said in the press release. “The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl.”
“As noted in the executive order, the Biden Administration ‘has abandoned the covenant, in Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, that ‘[t]he United States . . . shall protect each [State in this Union] against Invasion,’ and thus has forced the State of Texas to build a border wall, deploy state military forces, and enter into agreements as described in Article I, § 10 of the U.S. Constitution to secure the State of Texas and repel the illegal immigration that funds the cartels,’” he said.
“I have authorized the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to begin returning illegal immigrants to the border to stop this criminal enterprise endangering our communities,” he said. “As the challenges on the border continue to increase, Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges caused by the Biden Administration.”
The actions taken in the executive order include:
- Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas’ border security efforts.
- Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.
- Arresting and jailing criminals trespassing or committing other state crimes along the southern border.
- Allocating resources that include acquiring 1,700 unused steel panels to build the border wall in Texas.
- Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas.
- Signing 15 laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas.
- Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl.
- Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis.
- Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants.
- Taking aggressive action to secure the border as President Biden ends Title 42 expulsions, including busing migrants to Washington, D.C.
- Signing memoranda of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to enhance border security measures that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas.
- Activating the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, and Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate Texas’ response to secure the border
- Creating DPS strike teams and establishing new vehicle inspection checkpoints targeting semi-tr
It comes after Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey decided to do the job that Biden has not been willing to do.
The governor signed legislation to strengthen the border between his state and Mexico as the border crisis continues to be an issue.
“Inaction by President Joe Biden has led to the worst border crisis in over 20 years,” the governor said.
In a signing letter, he said, “I’ve been outspoken about the impact this crisis has on Arizonans, our communities, and migrants. We’ve taken numerous steps to help resolve the chaos, including deploying the Arizona National Guard, signing legislation to address human smuggling and transporting migrants on a voluntary basis to Washington, D.C. Ultimately, however, securing our border is the responsibility of the federal government… With this investment, we are giving our law enforcement professionals another critical resource they need to successfully do their jobs. We are standing up for the rule of law, and we are cementing Arizona’s commitment to securing our state and our entire nation.”
“The number of migrant encounters has skyrocketed at our border, overwhelming law enforcement and the Border Patrol,” Rep. John Kavanagh, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Thanks to the absent federal government, our border is in chaos and out of control. We need more support and physical barriers. This is a reasonable investment in Arizona’s safety and security. I’m grateful for Governor Ducey’s leadership to take action and secure the border.”
The legislation will provide:
- $335 million to construct and maintain a border fence, purchase or install border security technologies, and to pay associated administrative costs.
- $53.4 million for deputy sheriff compensation.
- $30 million for local prosecution and imprisonment of individuals charged with drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration, and other border-related crimes.
- $30 million for a new State Emergency Operations Center facility.
- $20 million for a State match to a new Cochise County Jail facility.
- $15 million for a Department of Public Safety southern border coordinated response center.
- $15 million for local law enforcement costs for participating in a program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- $15 million for transportation of individuals seeking asylum.
- $10 million to reduce trafficking.
- $10 million for the National Guard to support the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies in the southern Arizona border region.
- $10 million for emergency health care and testing for immigrants along the southern Arizona border
- $800,000 for the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs State Guard chain of command.