- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2021

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee demanded an explanation Thursday from the new Homeland Security secretary about President Biden’s order to stop border wall construction, saying it “thwarts the will of Congress,” which just approved nearly $1.4 billion in new money for the project.

Led by Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican on the panel, the GOP lawmakers also wondered in their letter why Mr. Biden’s views had changed from 2006, when he enthusiastically backed construction of 700 miles of double-tier border fence — far more than has been built under Mr. Trump.

At the time, Mr. Biden said walls could prevent “tons” of drugs from being smuggled in.

The Republicans asked new Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to turn over all documents related to Mr. Biden’s new construction halt, and asked for the department’s plans to keep the border secure in areas where wall-building is now on track to be canceled.

And the Republicans asked for a full accounting of the money spent, and what remains, from what Congress approved for wall construction this year and the previous three fiscal years.

“In fact, every year since Fiscal Year 2018, Congress has provided funds for barriers and fencing along the southwest border, clearly signaling Congress’s intent to secure the border with a physical barrier,” the Republicans said. “Unfortunately, in this case, President Biden has decided to use executive action to disregard the law passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.”

Mr. Biden issued a full 60-day halt on wall construction, and has said he wants to cancel it altogether. He’s asked his team to report back on what’s possible.

The Washington Times reported last week that legal experts and the past head of Customs and Border Protection said Mr. Biden was likely breaching the law by halting construction.

According to Border Patrol data, stopping the wall is also an invitation to more illegal crossings.

In the Tucson sector during one period late last month, parts of the border protected by wall were 75% effective in catching the illegal immigrants who were detected crossing, while the parts of the border without a wall were just 46% effective.

More migrants also made the attempt in the non-wall areas, signaling that smugglers have adapted their routes to go where walls are not in place.

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