The Supreme Court granted requests from the Biden administration to remove arguments in two cases (Mayorkas v. Innovation Law Lab and Biden v. Sierra Club) that questioned the legality of the “Remain in Mexico” program and Donald Trump’s national emergency border wall-building declaration. The conservative court might have upheld Trump’s policies had he remained in office, but will now most likely dismiss the cases.
The Army Corps of Engineers directed its contractors to cease border wall construction within 7 days, following President Biden’s January 20 proclamation calling for a pause in construction.
President Biden signed several immigration-related executive orders and proclamations that paused work on the border wall, ended the declaration of a state of emergency on the border, and ordered efforts to preserve DACA. Homeland Security announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations for “certain noncitizens”. (This moratorium was later stayed by a federal judge in Texas.)
- In the Coronado National Memorial — where conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado entered what is now modern-day Arizona — contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in a rush to put up as many miles of border wall as possible before the Trump administration vacates Washington.
- Two whistle-blowers have accused contractors building President Trump’s border wall of smuggling armed Mexican security teams into the United States to guard construction sites, even building an illegal dirt road to speed the operation, according to court documents unsealed by a federal judge on Friday.
- Congress will vote this week on a one-week stopgap measure to fund the federal government in order to give negotiators more time to reach agreement on government appropriations and emergency stimulus legislation for the ailing American economy.
- President Trump’s vision for a wall along the Mexico border will remain unfinished when he leaves office in January. The president-elect, Joe Biden, has pledged to stop construction after he is inaugurated, leaving Trump’s monumental project half-built and broken up by gaps. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and military planners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have had urgent meetings in recent days to prepare for Biden’s likely stop-work order, according to officials at both agencies who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the conversations publicly.
- Texas Democrats plan to hold President-elect Joe Biden to his campaign pledge not to build “another foot of wall” to separate the nation’s southern border from Mexico. The state party’s executive committee on Saturday is scheduled to consider a resolution asking the incoming Democratic administration to rescind Republican President Trump’s 2019 emergency order that allowed him to divert billions of federal dollars to the project he had pushed for throughout his presidency.
- Construction workers are topping the U.S.-Mexico border wall in El Paso with reams of concertina wire, creating a dangerous additional obstacle to illegal crossings. The U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector put up the razor wire “to dissuade individuals from scaling the border wall and to reduce the risk of injuries sustained from falling off the barrier,” said Roger Maier, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Patrol’s parent agency.
- Some of the most vocal critics of border wall construction over the past four years told The Arizona Republic they would like to see Biden go a step further and consider the possibility of tearing down certain sections.
- The head of a nonprofit that owns a coveted birding preserve in remote western Starr County told Border Report on Friday afternoon that its board has decided not to sell the land to the Trump administration for border wall construction.
- Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees billions of dollars worth of government border wall contracts along the Southwest, confirmed to Border Report in an emailed statement that construction of the border wall infrastructure system will continue on projects that are already funded.
- On Jan. 20 or soon thereafter, construction will come to an abrupt halt on the wall that President Donald Trump promised to build along the U.S.-Mexico border. The project has cost $15 billion so far, most of it diverted from the military budget after Congress refused to provide full funding. President-elect Joe Biden vowed during the campaign to discontinue the project, but leave in place whatever the Trump administration leaves behind.
- Customs and Border Protection will soon finish installing 50 wildlife passages across 63 miles of recently-completed border wall in southern Arizona in an attempt to allow more small animals to move across the border. The openings, which some have likened to “doggy doors,” are flush with the ground and the dimensions of a standard sheet of paper—eight and a half inches wide and 11 inches tall. The agency says the openings will make it easier for small animals to get through the wall, and that it plans to install more in the future. But scientists and environmentalists tell National Geographic that these openings are too small and too far apart to have a significant impact.
- Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall, according to data reviewed by CNN from the Texas Civil Rights Project.
- The Trump administration is building new sections of a wall on the nation’s southern border wherever it can and as quickly as it can to try to meet the president’s goal of building 450 miles by the end of this year.
- After years of backlash over controversial government work, Google technology will be used to aid the Trump administration’s efforts to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, according to documents related to a federal contract. In August, Customs and Border Protection accepted a proposal to use Google Cloud technology to facilitate the use of artificial intelligence deployed by the CBP Innovation Team, known as INVNT. Among other projects, INVNT is working on technologies for a new “virtual” wall along the southern border that combines surveillance towers and drones, blanketing an area with sensors to detect unauthorized entry into the country.
- The Trump administration must face allegations by a Texas butterfly sanctuary abutting the U.S.-Mexico border that challenges on constitutional grounds the federal government’s plans to build a wall to thwart illegal border crossings, a federal appeals court said on Tuesday.
- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last night ruled that President Trump’s use of emergency powers to divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds for the border wall is unlawful. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Sierra Club v. Trump, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition challenging President Trump’s abuse of emergency powers to build a border wall using funds Congress explicitly denied. Although the district court previously stayed its own injunction blocking these sections of wall, the court of appeals order lifts that stay and requires that construction cease immediately.
- The Trump administration is considering painting more than 80 miles of border wall black in Texas, according to US Customs and Border Protection officials, a move in line with President Donald Trump’s push to paint barriers that could cost tens of millions of dollars extra.