President Joe Biden has backtracked on the border wall. While running for president in 2020, then-candidate Biden told NPR “there will not be another foot of wall constructed” on his watch. He doubled down upon taking office, issuing a proclamation to end construction started under former President Donald Trump because “building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.”
With record numbers of migrants now pouring across the southern border, the president is seemingly reversing course. The Biden administration has now announced it is waiving a number of federal laws in order to begin construction on a new section of the wall in southern Texas.
On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by former vice president and current 2024 GOP presidential candidate Mike Pence to discuss Biden’s policy shift and the state of the immigration crisis.
Biden Is Building New Border Wall
Former President Trump made the southern border one of the cornerstones of his administration. Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates about 450 miles of border wall and barriers were constructed under Trump. Biden has publicly condemned and undone many of his predecessor’s policies, but the forty-sixth president now appears to be embracing them.
Late Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted an announcement in the Federal Registry that said the Biden administration is waiving 26 federal laws – including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act – for wall construction in Starr County, TX. The notice cited “high illegal entry” and said the project will be paid for by federal funds appropriated in 2019.
While the scope of the project is unclear, it is believed the DHS waivers are to allow a project that was quietly announced in June to move forward. At the time, DHS authorized CBP to move forward with the planning and execution of up to approximately 20 miles of border barrier system – using steel bollard panels – in the Rio Grande Valley sector.
The move from the Biden administration comes amid mounting criticism from Democrat leaders like New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker over the handling of the migrant crisis.
What’s Behind the Flip-Flop?
Megyn called Biden’s about-face on the border wall “a stunning turn of events” given his rhetoric and actions since taking office. “He’s been steadily dismantling even the border wall parts that President Trump had allocated for the remaining part of the border that he did not get to cover,” she noted. “He’s been selling them off, but now he’s seen the light.”
Given the record number of migrants illegally entering the U.S. every day, Pence said a new stretch of border wall is just the beginning of what needs to be done. “It feels like too little too late, but, for heaven’s sake, let’s just get on with it,” he said. “A nation without borders is not a nation.” In addition to resuming construction on the border wall, Pence said “we absolutely have to see ‘Remain in Mexico’ back in effect and we absolutely have to deputize courts and prosecutors around the country to process over 6 million asylum applicants that are now strewn all over the United States.”
While Megyn and Pence agreed the move feels like a “fig leaf” given the recent criticism the Biden administration has faced, the former vice president does see it as an admission of sorts. “To me, this is a confirmation that even the Biden administration has come to realize that this is a man-made crisis at our border and that man’s name is Joe Biden,” Pence said. “Joe Biden was wrong from day one when they shut down construction of that wall.”
That is why Pence sees this as a crucial issue for the 2024 election. “This is one of the reasons why we need a new president,” he concluded. “We’ve got to get back to what was working during [the Trump] administration… and we need an administration that’s absolutely committed to put into effect the policies that… secure the southern border.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Pence by tuning in to episode 641 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.