With midterm elections on the horizon, could President Joe Biden and the Democrats be changing their tune on the southern border?

When President Joe Biden ran for office, he clearly stated his open border position while repeatedly criticizing now-former President Donald Trump, his border wall, and his “racist” immigration policies.

Biden published an op-ed in the Miami Herald in 2020, saying that “‘Build the wall’ is a slogan divorced from reality,” and a wall “won’t stop the flow of illegal narcotics or human trafficking, both of which come primarily through legal ports of entry.”

During an interview in August 2020, Biden told NPR, “There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration.” 

Biden’s executive orders ceased all new border wall construction after his inauguration, and he has told Congress to cancel funding for border wall construction. In response, Republican states—including Texas—have repeatedly sued Biden over lax border policies. 

Now it seems that the Biden administration is beginning to cave to the continued pressure for a physical barrier on the southern border.

On Thursday, the Biden administration approved a plan to complete a section of the border wall near Yuma, Arizona. 

The Department of Homeland Security stated that the work to close four wide gaps in the wall near Yuma will better protect migrants who can slip down a slope or drown while walking through a low section of the Colorado River.

The Yuma sector has emerged as the third busiest of the nine sectors along the border, outpaced only by Del Rio and Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Migrants arrive in the small town of Algodones and walk unencumbered across a concrete ledge on the Morelos Dam to U.S. soil, where they wait for Border Patrol agents to take them into custody.

Since January, more than 160,000 illegal migrants have been apprehended in the Yuma sector alone.  

Biden’s decision to secure the border wall comes after Democrat U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, who is seeking his party nomination next week to defend his seat in November, pressed the Biden administration to close the gaps.

However, there has been no indication by the Biden administration that construction of the border wall will resume in Del Rio or Rio Grande Valley, the busiest sectors in the nation.  

Juliana Berg

Juliana is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is studying political science and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys learning about the philosophies that shape America.