HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to allow the reconstruction of levees along the Rio Grande to protect South Texas from flood damage ahead of hurricane season.
“Leaving these levees in their current state could put more than 200,000 Texans in the path of catastrophic flooding as hurricane season rapidly approaches. It is critical that the Department permit the Army Corps of Engineers and other contractors to continue their work to rebuild and repair these levees,” Cornyn wrote. “I have heard from dozens of local leaders who are concerned with the threat this unfinished work represents to their communities,”
Officials in deep South Texas are increasingly worried about breaches in the levee system that were created to facilitate border-wall construction, which the Biden administration has since halted.
On Wednesday, local officials held a news conference raising their concerns on this matter.
There are at least four breaches in the levee system that protects this low-lying area in Hidalgo County from flooding, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said during the news conference.
According to Border Report, the levee was built under the 2006 Safe Fence Act to protect this delta region from Rio Grande flooding.
However, the dirt levee also had been the staging ground for former President Donald Trump’s border wall, and as construction amped up during his presidency, modifications and cuts to the wall, such as this, were implemented.
But when President Joe Biden took over on Jan. 21, he put an immediate all-stop to border wall construction, and now areas, such as this one, are left vulnerable, said local officials during the press conference.
KVEO reached out to DHS for a statement on behalf of Mayorkas and it is still waiting for a response.
Read the full text of Cornyn’s letter to Mayorkas here.