After years of delays and legal haggling over funding, the border wall that was the centerpiece of President Trump's 2016 campaign is now going up faster than ever. In recent months, crews have been completing 10 miles per week of new wall, with 450 miles set to be complete by the end of the year. But that may be coming to a screeching halt, now that Joe Biden has been declared the presumptive winner of the election.
If Biden takes office in January, the status of the border wall changes drastically. "I don't anticipate that the Biden administration would start tearing down sections of the wall that have been built, but he has said throughout his campaign that he does not intend to build any additional wall," says Ira Mehlman with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "Which is unfortunate, because the wall has been extremely effective."
For border security advocates, there is only the hope that Biden will realize he needs the wall more than he thought. "You have to take him at his word that he intends to halt construction on the wall, but there is always the possibility that once he's in the oval office and the responsibility is on his shoulders, that he may recognize that the wall is necessary," says Mehlman. "He is going to have to consider a lot of national security issues, as well as the impact on national health."
While Biden could soften his stance against the wall, there are many on the left who want him to go the other way. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who has endorsed and advised Biden, is among those who advocated for tearing sections of the wall down. Biden has not pledged to do that, so far. "(Biden) ran as a moderate, that he was not going to yield to pressures from the extreme left, but those pressures are going to be there, and we'll have to see which way he goes," says Mehlman.