PHARR, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Just days ago, construction crews were building a wall that stands between part of the United States and Mexico. But after an executive order from President Joe Biden, that work has paused.
The wall was a campaign promise from former President Donald Trump and a key piece of his immigration agenda. Now, billions of dollars of work are unfinished.
On his first day in office, President Biden ordered all wall construction to come to a stop within a week—one of the 17 executive orders he signed that day. On Wednesday, that clock ran out.
NewsNation on Wednesday visited the border, finding construction sites barren besides a few leftover cranes and front-end loaders. Remaining contractors didn’t want to talk, but locals did.
“I want the border wall to end,” said local Javier Batras. “You know, because there are too many people that have dreams, you know. They want to live a better life.”
Batras, who lives in Mission, Texas, said he and his loved ones have waited for the day that the wall construction would stop. He admits his relatives cross back and forth illegally for work and family.
“A lot of people do that here, yes. Not just my family, but I also have friends who have family that do the same thing,” said Batras. “That cross back and forth.”
“No, no, no, I totally wish they would build more of it. Finish up the project,” said Ray Molina, a local business owner.
Molina runs an exporting business in Pharr. He fears what a flood of immigrants entering the country illegally might do to the local economy.
“I’m not against illegals, I just don’t believe we should cater to it,” said Molina.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement to NewsNation that read in part:
“CBP, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has suspended wall construction projects except for activities that are safety related. All projects are in compliance with the President’s proclamation.”
There are $10 billion allotted in border wall contracts. Biden has reportedly given his administration two months to determine how much it would cost to cancel contracts and whether leftover money could be redirected toward building alternative border features and technology, such as roads.