Biden orders to expand the wall with Mexico. Why?

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Greg Bulla / Unsplash

It all started with Democrat Bill Clinton more than a quarter of a century ago. The idea was deceptively simple: Raise sections of wall on the US-Mexico border to close off access to undocumented immigrants, human smugglers and drug traffickers in the border cities of El Paso and San Diego.

With a brushstroke, Bill Clinton broke with the circularity of the migratory phenomenon. The increasing difficulty that the Mexicans began to find then to cross to this side of the border, led them to bring their entire families. The result: the number of undocumented immigrants skyrocketed to more than 12 million people at its highest point.

Of course, the wall with Mexico did little to stop the arrival of these undocumented immigrants. He only managed to push them across through the dangerous trek through the Arizona desert. In the process, he enriched the human smuggling organizations. The greater the difficulties and risks, the higher the entry price.

Then came the attacks of 9/11, successive legislation in Congress to achieve “operational control” of the borders and the presidency of Donald Trump, who transformed the wall with Mexico into the symbol of his xenophobic policies with which he defamed the Mexican immigrants as criminals or drug traffickers.

And the border wall kept growing.

But Trump was resoundingly defeated by Joe Biden at the polls in the 2020 presidential election. During his presidential campaign, the current president of the United States declared that “not one more foot” of the wall with Mexico would be built on the border with Mexico, for which he put on hold the funds allocated by Trump to the Pentagon.

And then the unthinkable happened: the administration of President Biden announced in recent days through his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will resume construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, at the height of the Morelos dam, in Arizona, at in order to protect undocumented immigrants who die trying to navigate the Colorado River.

“This area presents safety and life-threatening risks to migrants attempting to cross into the United States, where there is a risk of drowning and injury from falls. This area also poses a risk to the life and safety of first responders and agents responding to incidents in this area,” DHS explained.

Before construction begins, DHS said it will engage in standard environmental planning and conduct stakeholder consultation and outreach activities. But it is documented that the wall with Mexico has had a damaging effect on the habitats of many species of fauna and flora along its route.

It is hard to believe that the decision, announced a few months before the November elections, where the Democrats could lose control of Congress, also does not include political motivations, especially to support Democratic candidates who are paying the price of the perception of a disorder at the Southern border.

Because if the only motivation is humanitarian, what would be consistent would be for the Biden administration to dedicate more political capital to a modernization of the asylum system, to the approval of the promised budget to deal with the causes of migration, to a comprehensive immigration reform. Otherwise, his decision runs the risk of being seen as an electoral act without rooting out the migration problem.