According to legal documents, the Biden administration has approved $950 million for repairing and upgrading existing border walls in Texas, California, and Arizona. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) granted four separate contracts for repair work, “remediation work,” and “system attribute installation” in the San Diego, El Centro, El Paso, and Tucson sectors of the southwest border.

Installation of barrier system attributes involves adding cameras, roads, and detection technology to enhance the functionality of the physical barrier. The remediation work consists of closing gaps in the existing barrier, completing or installing gates, fixing or improving patrol roads, and addressing environmental requirements specific to the project areas. 

CBP awarded the four contracts on September 28, and they will cost approximately $950 million combined. 

CBP also awarded an additional contract for the installation of anti-climbing features on existing barriers in the San Diego Sector. 

The agency says they have $12.7 million remaining in FY 2020 barrier system funds and $670 million in FY 2021 funding—granted to them during Donald Trump’s presidency. CBP expects to use the remaining funds for the four contracts. 

When President Joe Biden first assumed office in 2021, he signed an executive order that paused all border wall construction. However, last month, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cited an “acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads” along the South Texas-Mexico. 

Moreover, Mayorkas testified during a national security hearing on Capitol Hill that more than 600,000 “gotaways” were reported at the border for FY 2023.

DHS waived 26 federal laws to allow for the construction of border walls along the Rio Grande in Starr County.

Last month, Texas Scorecard reported that September saw 269,735 illegal alien encounters. The closing of FY 2023 saw a record-breaking tally of 2,475,669 encounters at the southwest border.

Currently, in Texas’ third special legislative session, legislators are discussing measures to secure the border. However, with the special session ending tomorrow, it remains to be seen whether any legislation addressing border infrastructure or Texas’ ability to remove illegal border crossers will pass through both chambers. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.