Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will do some repairs and “reinforcing” of the border wall, marking the first upgrades under the Biden administration to former President Donald Trump’s signature initiative.
But Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed that they are not yet building any new barriers. He said the reinforcements to a small barrier in California, along with three other projects across the border, are about fixing gaps in what they were left by the Trump administration.
“These projects are reflective of the commitment of DHS to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of communities along the border, individuals encountered there, and our Border Patrol Agents who patrol the area,” Mr. Mayorkas said in a statement. “We remain focused on securing the border and keeping communities safe.”
The announcement comes just days after Mr. Mayorkas began to cancel some contracts for wall construction signed during the Trump administration but which hadn’t yet begun.
President Biden ordered a halt to border wall work on his first day in office, and the move has proved deeply controversial.
Mr. Mayorkas is under a legal obligation to spend billions of dollars in leftover money on the wall, but Mr. Biden has vowed not to build any more wall.
Homeland Security is currently looking for ways to spend the money without defying Mr. Biden’s promise.
The projects announced Tuesday include electrical utility work in the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, environmental restoration in Texas, replacing or upgrading 33 drainage gates in the wall in the San Diego area, and “repairing and reinforcing a small fence between existing San Diego border segments.”