Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) released a statement Thursday condemning the Biden administration’s decision to waive 26 federal laws, which will allow border wall construction to commence in Texas.
“The Biden administration was not required to expand construction of the border wall — and they certainly were not required to waive several environmental laws to expedite the building,” the congresswoman said in her statement. “The President needs to take responsibility for this decision and reverse the course.”
The waived environmental laws will expedite the construction of barriers in Starr County, Texas, which is a highly trafficked entry point along the southern U.S. border, the Department of Homeland Security noted. The Associated Press reported that roughly 245,000 migrants have illegally crossed the border there this fiscal year.
In a press conference Thursday, Biden defended the plans to add to the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He insisted that he tried to get the funds reappropriated, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.
The Biden administration held firm in its stance that building a wall along the border “is not the answer.”
“A wall does nothing to deter people who are fleeing poverty and violence from coming to the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her statement. “Walls only serve to push migrants into more remote areas, increasing their chances of death. It is a cruel policy.”
The New York congresswoman said the country needs to reevaluate the root of migration and how policy affects Latin America. She said the country has to “finally invest in meaningful immigration reform.”
Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken advocate for immigration reform, as New York City has seen a recent influx of migrants arriving in the city.
Other members of Congress have joined Ocasio-Cortez in the call for action. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) posted online that the decision was a “wasted opportunity to use executive power.” Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) said the decision was equivalent to “sticking our heads in the sand.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) denounced the decision, saying he doesn’t believe Biden wants to fix the “crisis.” Cruz said he thinks the decision is “all window dressing to pretend he cares.”
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