The White House on Friday scaled back a decision to complete construction on former President Donald Trump’s border wall near Yuma, Arizona.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the move by Fox News Channel’s Peter Ducey during the daily press briefing. Jean-Pierre emphasized that President Biden is “not finishing the wall,” but filling in the gaps to keep migrants from trying to cross the dangerous border.
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“We are cleaning up the mess made by the previous administration,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’re trying to save lives … a border wall is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
The Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this week that it is prioritizing completion of the wall near Morelos Dam in Arizona. The decision, according to administration officials, was made to protect illegal immigrants from getting hurt while trying to cross a dangerous section of the Colorado River.
DHS officials say the area in question is the third-busiest illegal-crossing site along the US-Mexico border. In the first six months of this year alone, Border Patrol agents made more than 160,000 stops in the section.
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“This area presents safety and life-threatening risks for immigrants attempting to enter the United States, where there is a risk of drowning and injuries from falls,” DHS said in a statement. “The area also poses a threat to life and safety for first responders and agents responding to incidents in the area.”
Republican lawmakers scoffed at news of the decision to fill the gaps at the border.
“After Hispanic support craters at 26% approval for President Biden, he suddenly wants to complete a border wall,” tweeted Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-GA.
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Critics noted that Biden campaigned hard to stop the construction of the wall while running for the White House in 2020.
At one point, Biden promised the project would be built “not one more step” if he won.