These days, you often need to read beyond headlines to understand what’s truly going on. A case in point is a flurry of press coverage and editorials over the past couple of weeks with headlines suggesting that President Biden is having second thoughts about halting the construction of Trump’s racist border wall. The real story is a nothingburger that only shines a bighter spotlight on Trump’s signature failure.
The confusion started when the Washington Times, a conservative publication, ran an “exclusive” on April 5 about a recent conversation between Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees. Mayorkas acknowledged that Biden has canceled the border emergency and halted Pentagon money for a border wall, but then added that it “leaves room to make decisions” on finishing some “gaps in the wall.”
This statement prompted an excited tweet the next day from Washington Times columnist Tim Young claiming to have exposed some massive hypocrisy. “**BREAKING** The Biden administration will resume BUILDING THE WALL that Trump started,” he wrote. “You know, the one they called racist, inhumane, etc.”
In case there was any question, a few days later, the Biden administration released its discretionary funding request for FY 2022, allocating exactly $0 toward funding a border wall. Not only that, but the request cancelled all prior unused border wall funding as well. Biden did request $1.2 billion for border security and infrastructure, but every dollar goes toward measures that will effectively address the root causes of migration, according to a report from The Hill.
As for Mayorkas’ comment, he was referring to the notion that Trump’s boondoggle, despite all the bluster, has actually created new vulnerabilities at the border. Although the Department of Homeland Security is considering plugging some gaps, there is certainly no evidence that Biden is starting to take sips from Trump’s border wall Kool-Aid.
For the record, about 654 miles of fencing along the border already stood before Russia helped Trump ascend to the role of Xenophobe-in-Chief. Although Trump now likes to claim credit for completing 452 miles of new wall, the fact is that all but 80 miles of it involved merely replacing old barriers, according to BBC Reality Check.
After his inauguration, Biden wasted no time issuing a proclamation stating that “the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats. But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.” As Biden nears his 100th day in office, his administration’s commitment to reversing Trump’s failed, racist legacy remains unwavering.