On Thursday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas finally authorized the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to execute the Yuma Morelos Dam Project and to close four gaps located within an incomplete border barrier project near the Morelos Dam in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector.
The Biden administration had shut down all border wall construction projects as soon as it took over from the Trump administration, leaving behind the dangerous gaps as well as creating environmental damage by abandoning some of the projects.
Mayorkas acknowledged in the announcement that the projects address operational impacts, as well as immediate life and safety risks. “Due to the proximity to the Morelos Dam and the swift moving Colorado River, this area presents safety and life hazard risks for migrants attempting to cross into the United States where there is a risk of drownings and injuries from falls,” noted the DHS announcement. “This area also poses a life and safety risk to first responders and agents responding to incidents in this area.
The projects will be funded with DHS’s Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations, and the gaps are located within the former Yuma 6 project area, a border barrier project that was previously funded by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) military construction appropriation pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 2808.
In June of this year, a 5-year-old child drowned in the Colorado River in the vicinity of the Morelos Dam while with his mother, who was attempting to cross illegally into the United States.
In a tweet, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey called the small child’s death “heartbreaking.” The Governor’s tweet concluded, “Make no mistake: this is a humanitarian crisis.”
At the same time, Border Patrol agents and Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot questioned why the Biden administration was leaving such dangerous gaps in the U.S. – Mexico border wall.
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