Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.) introduced the Build the Wall Now Act, which would require border wall construction to restart within 24 hours of the bill’s enactment, remove all legal impediments to construction, and unlock $2.1 billion in unspent wall funding.
Senate co-sponsors include Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). The House version of the bill is led by Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.).
The bill is supported by the National Border Patrol Council, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, and Heritage Action for America.
“On day one of his administration, Joe Biden paused construction of the border wall. Since then, the White House has intentionally implemented policies that allow drugs, smuggled migrants, and criminals to flow across the border unimpeded. What’s worse, they have repeatedly ignored our brave Border Patrol agents warning them of the danger and asking for a physical barrier. We simply cannot afford to let this crisis continue. It’s time to finish building the wall,” said Senator Blackburn.
“President Joe Remain in Biden has created the worst border crisis in American history. Instead of taking steps to solve this crisis, the Biden administration has tried to run out the regulatory clock on border wall construction. The Build the Wall Now Act ends this administration’s excuses and forces them to restart wall construction immediately. It’s time for a comprehensive solution to end the Biden Border Crisis, and this bill does just that,” said Senator Budd.
“From the moment President Biden took office, he has made one poor decision after another that has created a crisis at our Southern border, including stopping the construction of a border wall. We have to take action to gain back control of our border and stop the historic level of illegal crossings, and I am proud to join Senator Budd to introduce this legislation,” said Senator Tillis.
“The Biden Administration has, time and time again, put politics before the interests of the American public. Not only has Biden ended Remain in Mexico, leading to the worst humanitarian crisis ever on our southern border, but also inexplicably halted construction of the Border Wall, flooding our communities with deadly fentanyl and other drugs. It’s time to start building the wall again, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this bill to save lives by securing our border,” said Senator Cruz.
“This administration is letting construction materials that have already been paid for sit and rot rather than finish building President Donald Trump’s border wall and we are all paying the price. For the same reason that Joe Biden had a fence put up around his State of the Union address, we need to finish building the wall on our southern border to keep American families and communities safe,” said Representative Banks.
Read the full text of the bill here.
- On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he signed Presidential Proclamation 10142 that paused all funding for the border wall.
- After pressure from 71 members of the House and Senate, the Government Accountability Office ruled that this was not a permanent impoundment, but rather a “programmatic delay.”
- The Joe Biden administration claimed that this delay will be used to conduct additional environmental and Endangered Species Act reviews that the Trump administration had waived.
- Congress appropriated approximately $6 billion for border wall construction from 2018–2021, and $2.1 billion remains unspent.
- The appropriations for border wall funding are only available for five years.
- Therefore, if these reviews take more than five years, the border wall funds previously appropriated will expire.
- Section 102(c)(1) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to “waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads” at the border.
- The Trump Administration used this authority to waive 50 different provisions of law to speed up border construction.
The Build the Wall Now Act:
- Requires border wall construction to restart within 24 hours.
- Prohibits the Secretary from canceling any of the contracts related to border wall construction.
- Requires the Secretary to uphold all negotiated border wall agreements.
- Makes previously appropriated funds for the border wall available until they are spent, so the funding will not expire.
- Unlocks over $2.1 billion in unspent funding for the border wall by codifying all Trump administration waivers used to speed up construction.
- Requires DHS to consult with the National Border Patrol Council on initiatives to increase agent safety.