President Biden Builds the Wall: The Kiplinger Letter

Democrats are divided on how to handle illegal border crossings, but roughly 65% of voters, on average, disapprove of Biden's handling of the issue.

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The Biden administration will resume building the southern border wall. But only begrudgingly, according to President Biden, who says his hands are tied, since the administration failed to convince Congress to redirect funds first appropriated in 2019 for constructing a wall on the southern border. But, the president has notably waived 26 federal laws, many of them related to the environment, to allow for the construction of 20 additional miles of wall. 

The politics of the issue are tricky for Biden, who, during his first days in office, halted his predecessor’s use of emergency funds for wall construction and just recently reiterated his view that such barriers were largely ineffective.

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On the one hand, immigration is one of his greatest political weaknesses. Roughly 65% of voters, on average, disapprove of his handling of the issue. He’s seen nearly six million illegal border crossings since taking office. On the other, he risks dividing Democrats, some of whom agree that a border wall is needed, while others say Biden has betrayed his promises.

This past September, in response to questions from Reuters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it was "safely and efficiently" processing migrants and would impose consequences, including deportation, on migrants without a legal basis to stay in the country.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.