The Biden administration’s plan to construct new barriers along the US-Mexico border in southern Texas has sparked criticism from both environmentalists and advocates of stricter border surveillance. The “moveable” design of the wall has left no one satisfied, with concerns ranging from its ineffectiveness in preventing illegal border crossings to the potential harm it may cause to the local wildlife habitat.
As construction continues, it undermines President Joe Biden’s campaign promise of not building any more walls, while the influx of migrants seeking asylum at the southern border continues to rise. In this article, we will delve into the various perspectives surrounding the controversial design of Biden’s border wall.
Discontent of Anti-Immigration Activists
Rodney Scott, former chief of the US Border Patrol, expressed his dissatisfaction with the degraded border wall design, stating that the US Border Patrol did not request such a barrier. Those who advocate for increased border security, like Scott, believe that the barriers will not be strong enough to deter illegal crossings.
They argue that the design falls short in preventing unauthorized entries into the country.
On the other hand, environmentalists argue that the design of the wall poses a greater risk to animal habitats compared to the border wall constructed during the tenure of former President Donald Trump.
Laiken Jordahl, a conservation advocate from the Center for Biological Diversity, highlights the potentially negative impact on various species, including pumas, lynxes, wild boars, coyotes, white-tailed deer, armadillos, rabbits, ground squirrels, and two federally protected endangered plants: Zapata bladderpod and Tobusch fishhook cactus.
They claim that even smaller animals will be unable to cross the barrier, disrupting their natural migration patterns.
Joe Biden Administration’s Defense
President Biden has defended his administration’s decision, citing the necessity to utilize funding from the Trump era. The law requires that the funds allocated for new barriers be used as approved and that construction be completed by 2023.
Unlike the 18 to 30 feet tall concrete-filled steel bollard panels of Trump’s wall, Biden’s barrier will be much shorter and may even be temporary in nature.
A Glimpse of Biden’s Wall Design
One example of the type of barrier the Biden administration plans to use can be seen in Brownsville, approximately 100 miles southeast of Starr County. Metal bollards embedded in 4-foot tall cement blocks tapering towards the top can be found along the southern edge of a neighborhood not far from where the Rio Grande river curves north.
These “moveable walls” can serve as a temporary emergency measure to block access to certain areas. However, experts like Scott Nicol, a board member of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, express concerns about the potential unintended consequences, particularly regarding the flow of water in the Rio Grande.
Criticisms and Potential Impact
Scott Nicol, who resides in the Rio Grande Valley, is well-acquainted with the type of barriers the Biden administration plans to implement, as well as the local terrain and climate in Starr County. He worries about the potential consequences, particularly in the event of a major storm that would require water to drain into the river.
Nicol explains that the bollard or Jersey barrier walls could obstruct the movement of water and cause it to dam up. The Center for Biological Diversity, along with 100 other organizations, has sent a letter to the US government requesting a reconsideration of environmental protection laws, but they have yet to receive a response.
The controversy surrounding the design of Biden’s border wall in south Texas continues to garner criticism from both anti-immigration activists and environmentalists.
While some argue that the moveable barriers are not strong enough to deter illegal crossings, others raise concerns about the potential harm to wildlife habitats. As construction progresses, the debate over the effectiveness and impact of the wall design remains unresolved.
It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will address these concerns and reconcile its promise of a different approach to border security with the realities on the ground.