WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – North Carolina’s newly elected senator, Republican Ted Budd, has dropped his first piece of legislation since taking the oath in January.
Budd is the primary sponsor of the “Build the Wall Now Act,” which would require the U.S. to resume building a wall along its Southern border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration.
President Joe Biden, on the day of his inauguration in January 2021, ordered construction on the wall to pause and funds that were diverted by former President Donald Trump to build a border wall be held while the situation was studied. Oddly, Biden took some heat for work done along the wall last year.
Budd’s bill would require border wall construction to resume within 24 hours and $2.1 billion that a release called “unspent wall funding” be available to pay for it.
The bill is cosponsored by North Carolina’s other senator, Republican Thom Tillis, along with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), and Mike Rounds (R-S.Dak.). There is a companion bill in the House.
“President Biden has created the worst border crisis in American history,” Budd said in a release announcing the bill. “Instead of taking steps to solve this crisis, the Biden administration has tried to run out the regulatory clock on border wall construction.
“The Build the Wall Now Act ends this administration’s excuses and forces them to restart wall construction immediately. It’s time for a comprehensive solution to end the Biden Border Crisis, and this bill does just that.”
If you measure illegal immigration by the number of apprehensions at the border, there have been significant rises in the number of detentions in the past two years, the most since 2005. Apprehensions in the last two years of Trump’s presidency were the most in any year since 2009.
Biden has said Congress wouldn’t move the comprehensive immigration package that he had introduced in 2021, and Tillis – who, like Biden, recently visited the border – failed late last year to close a deal on a bipartisan effort he and Sen. Krysten Sinema (I-Ariz.) had brokered.
Budd’s proposal would return to the policies pushed by Trump, who had vowed during his campaign in 2016 and his four years in the White House that he would build the wall and have Mexico pay for it. That didn’t happen.
During Trump’s presidency about $15 billion was redirected for the wall, and there was construction for about 458 of the roughly 2000 miles across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Most of those 458 miles already had some sort of barrier.
Budd’s bill calls for not only the release of the remaining $2.1 billion in funding but the resumption of all contracts that had been put on hold by Biden. It suggests that no cabinet-level secretary can stop the plan.
The Biden administration last year did order the completion of gaps in the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, and just last month it approved U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s decision to lower a longstanding wall in San Diego.
Budd, a resident of Advance and 3-term member of the House in the old 13th District, last year used Trump’s endorsement to beat a deep field of Republicans for the nomination to replace retiring Richard Burr and then turned back Democrat Cheri Beasley in the General Election.
His first campaign ad nearly a year ago showed him walking along the border wall. His script included his plan to halt Biden’s “reckless open-border policies and, yeah, finish this wall.”
Tillis said after his visit last month that illegal immigration is “the biggest threat to national security of our time.” That’s why he joined Budd and the others.
“From the moment President Biden took office, he has made one poor decision after another that has created a crisis at our Southern border, including stopping the construction of a border wall,” Tillis said in the release. “We have to take action to gain back control of our border and stop the historic level of illegal crossings, and I am proud to join Senator Budd to introduce this legislation.”