Biden administrative axes Border wall contracts for Laredo area

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The Biden government on Friday officially canceled 50 kilometers of the border wall projects planned by the Donald Trump administration for Laredo, sparking a celebration among groups fighting against the construction.

“The Laredo people stood their ground and we won,” said Tricia Cortez, executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, which is committed to protecting the Rio Grande. “The termination of these two contracts is a huge nail in the coffin for this whole misguided project.”

The US Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday that it had terminated two contracts in Laredo, where construction has not yet started. No land acquisition had started in this section.

The move comes less than a month after Trump visited part of the border downstream from Laredo in Hidalgo County and beat up the Biden administration for failing to build more of the border wall there. Standing in front of a section of a “rotting and rusting” wall built a mile from the border was Trump, a Republican who was sacked by voters last fall but hinted he could run again in 2024, President said Joe Biden, a Democrat, had to finish what Trump started.

The Biden administration had already stopped all construction work started by Trump on the barriers and was evaluating which projects could be completely ended. Other contracts could still be terminated, such as the Laredo section.

“The DHS continues to review all other paused boundary barrier projects and is in the process of determining what projects may be required to meet life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning,” DHS said in a statement.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about 738 miles of barriers were planned – this includes rehabilitation or rebuilding of existing walls and fences along the entire 2,000 mile U.S. border with Mexico. Of that, about 453 miles were completed, with 373 of those miles replacing existing fences and walls. Only about 17 miles have been built in Texas, all within the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

The section stopped at Laredo would have extended 50 km from El Pico Road northwest of Laredo to the southern tip of Webb County. It would have cost an estimated $ 564 million. Opponents of the wall warned that it would have damaged the city’s riverside park, Tres Laredos Park and other natural areas that need to be preserved.

“Our community has achieved the impossible and prevented what many have called a ‘deal’,” said Carlos E. Flores, co-founder of a group called the No Border Wall Coalition.

While the project ends, Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced his own efforts on Friday to begin clearing land for border fences near Eagle Pass.

“Construction of the new border wall begins near West Texas Town,” Abbott said late Friday in a Twitter post.

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