Border wall contracts in Laredo, RGV areas terminated

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On Friday, almost all existing border wall contracts to build a barrier along the banks of the Rio Grande in the Laredo and Webb Counties were officially terminated by the Department of Homeland Security.

The terminated contracts include the CBP North Project-Pico Road Water Plant to Columbia POE, which was to be a 22 km project priced at $ 275 million; the CBP South Project rail bridge to El Cenizo, which is 27 miles and is expected to cost $ 289 million; and the USACE South Project-El Cenizo to San Ygnacio, which is 13 miles in length and costing approximately $ 201 million.


President Joe Biden originally ordered a break in the construction of the border wall after his election, as Laredo was one of the next locations to receive it. And on Friday was another round of canceled contracts after two more were canceled in the Laredo sector the previous July.

“CBP will then begin environmental planning and action in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act for previously planned border barrier system projects in the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and El Centro sectors,” the DHS said in a statement.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) said Friday the news was good for the community. He told LMT that this was a great victory for those who oppose the border wall, which will not benefit the people along the border and will not successfully stop the wave of migration.

“It’s good news we got,” said Cuellar. “We still have a lot to do, but I think it’s a very good job as the contracts have all but been terminated. That affects pretty much the whole of Laredo, and it’s even more important from El Cenizo to San Ygnacio, because I know when I was in San Ygnacio they said: ‘Hello, there is one more contract.’ So this covers a good part of the area we looked at from San Ygnacio. It also covers The Valley. “

The timing of the contract waiver is interesting considering Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said in an interview with a conservative Washington media company a little over a week earlier that locals would soon be “begging for a wall.” if there were a virtual ‘not in place.

Regarding the recent surge on the border, including the Haitian migrants who have arrived in Del Rio, Cuellar said the termination of the contracts was overall positive as a border wall would not have stopped those surge. He said that the people who are trying to cross the border together in large numbers are not people who are simply deported to their countries after they are captured, but that they are processed and taken in for possible asylum status, hence the wall not necessary, as these people would already be on American soil by the time they can reach the wall and apply for asylum.

Although no more border walls will be erected along the area in the near future, Cuellar says security remains a concern for the border communities as well as the United States and Mexico. However, he says a wall is “a bad solution” and that the US and Mexico are currently meeting to develop a new border security agreement.

“I believe in strong border security without a wall,” said Cuellar. “They will continue to build roads and technology to make sure we still secure the border, except for the wall.

“I believe this new agreement has to fight drugs, but they also need some understanding that all of these people are coming to the United States, so hopefully this agreement will cover that. I also know that Mexico is very interested in protecting weapons. “

According to Cuellar, the US Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley and Laredo sectors can now use diverted funds to deploy innovative border security technology that helps DHS achieve operational control and provide situational awareness between ports of entry.

In addition, the DHS will shortly begin environmental planning activities for incomplete border barrier system projects in the RGV and Laredo sectors. These projects include both barriers and related system elements such as streets, lighting, surveillance cameras and other detection technologies. The environmental planning activities do not include the construction of new border barriers or the permanent acquisition of land.

Although Cuellar hailed the announcement as a victory for the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley areas, which his district represents, he said the battle was not over. There are many other treaties that call for a border wall to be built in different parts of the state and country.

“We must continue to fight for Congress to lift all remaining border wall treaties,” said Cuellar. “I will continue my efforts to ensure that the residents of South Texas are protected from further harm and that all funds are used in effective measures to secure our southern border.”

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