The timing of the Biden administration’s announcement to complete open segments of the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, could be to “help one of their own,” said Brandon Judd, president for the National Border Patrol Council, as Sen. Mark Kelly, (D-AZ), faces a tough re-election fight amid criticism from the GOP over border security and immigration.
Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas announced Thursday that he had approved construction to close several gaps in the border wall in the Yuma sector that have become highly-trafficked spots for border-crossers. Mayorkas said the gaps were a safety risk for migrants due to the proximity to the Morelos Dam.
Kelly for months has been advocating for approval to close those gaps, and celebrated the announcement in a statement Thursday, taking credit for finally being able to “secure a commitment from the administration to get this done,” according to his office.
The actual construction could be months away, however. Kelly told News 11 Yuma in an interview Thursday that he expects the first contract to be finalized in September, with construction schedule still to be finalized. And the DHS announcement that “Prior to construction, DHS will engage in standard environmental planning and conduct stakeholder outreach and consultation,” while moving “as expeditiously as possible.”
The timing of the DHS announcement comes just three months before Kelly faces a challenging re-election in Arizona where the GOP is hoping to pick up a seat in the Senate.
Judd told Fox News Digital that he wouldn’t be surprised if the decision was politically-motivated, and called the announcement “nothing more than smoke and mirrors.”
“The Administration knows that border security is one of the biggest issues in Arizona so an announcement like this especially at this time makes sense to try to help one of their own. But if people will do the proper research they will find that filling in the gaps with the current situation in that particular area does not help improve border security,” Judd said.
President Biden made it clear during his 2020 presidential campaign that “not another foot” of wall would be built along the U.S.-Mexico border in his administration.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told Fox News’ Peter Doocy Friday that the Biden administration was “not finishing up a wall, we are cleaning up the mess the prior administration made.”
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