President Joe Biden’s Justice Department is moving forward with the previous administration’s process of building ex-President Donald Trump’s notorious wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, marking a glaring contradiction in Biden’s promise to step away from his predecessor’s hardline anti-immigration crusade.
Politico reports that the DOJ seized six acres of land from a family in Hidalgo, Texas this week after a judge appointed by former President George W. Bush gave the department the green light to do so in an eminent domain case launched by the Trump administration for the wall’s construction.
Reynaldo “Rey” Anzaldua Cavazos, a member of the family, told Politico that he was “very, very disappointed” in the President.
“I thought he was a man of his word but apparently he’s not keeping his word,” Cavazos said. “He said not one more foot of wall and no land forfeitures. We took him at his word and we want him to keep his word.”
Then-presidential candidate Biden, who vowed he would never add to the wall, had promised last August that his administration would withdraw the Trump-era eminent domain cases at the border (however, he also said he would not tear down the parts of the wall that had already been built).
Yet Politico reports that more than a hundred of those cases remain active.
A DOJ official told Politico that the department was moving forward with the land seizure in Hidalgo because the review Biden had ordered of federal resources being used for the wall’s construction was still ongoing.
However, that review was supposed to have been completed by March 20, and it’s unclear why it hasn’t been finished yet.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the wall construction “remains paused.”
The land seizure come amid reports that Biden still hasn’t delivered on his promised increase of the refugee cap from the previous administration’s limit of 15,000, a historic low. CNN reports that Biden has not expanded the program due to concern over political optics.