In a volte-face that will have the heads of many Democrat supporters spinning, the Biden administration appears poised to sweep aside a mass of regulations and start building a wall on the southern border with Mexico. Wednesday, October 4, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cited an “acute and immediate need” to begin construction to stem the flow of illegal crossings. What is, perhaps, less surprising is that the nation’s big legacy media outlets opted not to cover the decision at all.
In Times of Need?
Posting an announcement to the Federal Register, Mayorkas specifically outlined plans for a border wall in the Starr County, Rio Grande Valley Sector, which he classed as a “high illegal entry” area. The DHS notes that there have been roughly a quarter of a million migrant encounters in this sector during the last fiscal year. But it is not just a simple decision to begin building part of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge. In fact, the agency head notes 26 federal laws that he must sweep aside to even get started.
Among those laws that must fall are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and a whole host of statutes that were invoked in the legal challenge to stop the wall being built under the Trump administration. Mayorkas wrote:
“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas pursuant to sections 102(a) and 102(b) of IIRIRA [the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act]. In order to ensure the expeditious construction of the barriers and roads in the project areas, I have determined that it is necessary that I exercise the authority that is vested in me by section 102(c) of IIRIRA.”
The question on everyone’s lips has to be: Why now?
Blue State Border Wall Blues
When Joe Biden took office in January 2021, his first order of business was to repeal or overturn pretty much the entirety of President Trump’s border control efforts. This irked not only the voters who saw the border wall as a national necessity but also Republican governors in southern states – specifically Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida.
The two GOP leaders set about holding more northerly states to their promises of being “sanctuaries” by sending migrants there by plane and bus. It was not long before leadership in these locales began to feel the pressure. New York City, for example, currently has an estimated 120,000 people to deal with, causing friction between Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul. The latter appeared to metaphorically throw up her hands this past Sunday, saying:
“Well, we want them to have a limit on who can come across the border. It is too open right now… People coming from all over the world are finding their way through simply saying they need asylum.”
New York is not the only area getting a taste of what the lower states have been experiencing. And, perhaps quite naturally, their frustration turned to the commander-in-chief who has done his level best to open the southern border.
But, But, But … Donald Trump?
To say this is a victory for Donald Trump is an understatement; many see this as a vindication of his policies that were denounced by the Democratic Party and the Fourth Estate, as well as a tacit admission by the current administration that he was right all along. The Trump campaign released a statement to Fox News, saying:
“President Trump is always right… That’s why he built close to 500 miles of powerful new wall on the border, and it would have been finished by now. Instead, Crooked Joe Biden turned our country into one giant sanctuary for dangerous criminal aliens.”
The former president also spoke with the cable news network directly, asking: “Biden sees our country is being invaded… What is he going to do about the 15 million people from prisons, from mental institutions, insane asylums, and terrorists that have already come into our country?”
“He has to reinstate Remain in Mexico and Title 42,” Trump said. “He has to do all of the other things that we were doing.”
Some would argue the administration’s 180-degree flip on Joe Biden’s signature policy of undoing Trump’s work at the border would perhaps be the biggest news of the day. Yet the left-leaning staples of the media industry have been oddly silent.*
An Eyes Wide Shut Media
Looking at America’s paper of record, The New York Times (web edition), a search of the front page finds not a single mention of the secretary’s plan to build more border wall, nor of Mayorkas himself. It does, however, have six stories on former President Trump, and a mere three individual mentions of President Biden.
And what of CNN? On its digital front page, there are no mentions of either “wall,” “border,” or “Mayorkas.” Digging deeper into the politics section of the website, the same three search terms also send up a blank. Searching for “Trump” reveals a staggering 14 stories, compared to “Biden” with just 11 mentions.
MSNBC’s digital homepage does have two mentions of the “border wall,” but neither has anything to do with the administration’s volte-face. A breathtaking 38 mentions of “Trump” appear against a paltry seven of “Biden.”
Washington, DC’s, most prominent daily also appeared to be suffering from selective blindness, with zero mentions of our top three search terms. Notably, this was the only outlet that had more mentions of Biden over Trump – although “McCarthy” had more stories than both presidents combined.
That the nation’s press would seek to bury the story of the Biden administration’s tacit admission that he got it all wrong on the border wall is of little surprise to those who have witnessed the slow degradation of a once-vaunted Fourth Estate. In reality, it should be almost expected; after all, during the Trump presidency, news day after news day was dominated by the media’s negative coverage of 45’s effort to secure the border.
This move to begin rebuilding the border wall by Mr. Mayorkas is more than just an admission of mistakes made. It is an admission that Trump was right all along, and this close to an election, is it any wonder the story must wither and die on the vine?
*The numbers that follow are accurate as of 6 a.m. EST on Thursday, Oct. 5.