EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A group of South Texas Democrats is demanding that the incoming Biden administration halt, among other things, construction of the border wall.
The Webb County Democratic Party Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday night calling on Biden to immediately declare a moratorium on border wall construction in the Laredo Sector; halt the government’s condemnation of public lands and private property for border wall construction; rescind President Donald Trump’s Feb. 15, 2019, national emergency declaration at the southern border; and lift the waiver of 27 environmental laws, which was “proclaimed by the administration for the purpose of rushing its construction of the wall.”
“We have been fighting this wall for way too long to let our guard down. The people of Webb County will not rest until a stake is driven into the heart of this monster,” said Tricia Cortez, whose No Border Wall Coalition spearheaded the drafting of the resolution. “We will not allow the Trump Wall to become the Biden Wall.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded four contracts totaling more than $1 billion to build 71 miles of the border wall that Committee members say threaten riverfront parks, neighborhoods, nature trails, historic sites, a community college, and cemeteries in Webb and Zapata counties.
Border Report archives show that CBP awarded two contracts valued at nearly half a billion dollars to build 40 new miles of border wall in Laredo. Southwest Valley Constructors Company won a $201 million contract for a 13-mile section, while Fisher Sand & Gravel Company won a $283 million contract to build 27 miles of border wall and its accompanying infrastructure system. The government expects construction to begin in September 2021, “pending availability of real estate.”
In a statement to Border Report earlier this month, CBP officials say border-wall construction on projects already funded will continue.
“CBP continues with the construction of new border wall system with funding that has been received through Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The majority of contracts have been awarded and construction is well underway for the approximately 738 miles funded to date. Since the U.S. Border Patrol began constructing border barriers nearly 30 years ago, these barriers have proved to be a critical component in gaining operational control of the border and allowing for greater efficiency of manpower,” the CBP statement read.
Additionally, the Trump administration is stepping up its efforts to condemn private land for its wall project.
The Committee said the Texas Democratic Party’s State Democratic Executive Committee will act on the resolution at its Dec. 5, 2020, meeting, and the Webb County Democrats will gather similar resolutions from governing bodies in Laredo as well as Webb and Zapata counties.
“This is but a first step in what will be a full-court press from our community to assure that President Biden performs on his pledge to not build ‘another foot of wall’ during his administration and to immediately dismiss the condemnation suits,” Melissa R. Cigarroa, a riverfront property owner in Zapata County and member of the No Wall Coalition said in the Committee’s news release. “President Biden’s team will be hearing from South Texas as we ramp up our efforts to bring an end to this undemocratic process and un-American land grab.”
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