RIO GRANDE VALLEY — Construction on the border wall system that was started by former President Donald Trump, a key 2016 campaign promise, has been in limbo since President Joe Biden signed an executive order to halt construction to fulfill his campaign promise to not build "another foot."
When he was in the Senate, Biden voted in favor of H.R. 6061, also known as the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
The pause in construction has resulted in many workers without jobs, despite contracts lasting at least a few more months, and multiple gaps in places where crews were unable to finish before the order came down from the White House. Other workers have been able to "stay on the job" but are not allowed to do anything. The pause is set to expire on Saturday, but no one knows what will happen next.
The multiple gaps along the U.S.-Mexico border are clearly visible from the road.
Townhall Media/Julio Rosas
A construction worker I spoke to said it felt like a "slap in the face" when they got word their hard work was to be halted. He had previously worked in the oil fields and said building the wall system near where he lives with his family was very appealing, adding if they do have to look for other work, the options are very limited.
"It's kinda messed up because he shut down the [Keystone] Pipeline," he said, noting those workers who were laid off first have been able to secure the few solar panel and wind farm jobs.
The worker said seven people had already left their site to find more stable jobs because the instability was too much to bear. In the time since the Biden administration halted construction, the worker said he and his crew have seen multiple large groups of illegal immigrants turning themselves over to Border Patrol. He then showed me a video he took that showed such a group being apprehended by Border Patrol when he arrived on the job site early one morning.
The worker told me the contract for their job is already paid for so it does not make sense to all of sudden stop.
"We're kinda like, what's going to happen?" he said. "We all have families though, we have to support them."