WATCH: Biden Says He’s Building Border Wall Against His Will

October 5, 2023

President Joe Biden on Thursday said that his administration was legally bound to build a section of a wall along the southern border, thereby breaking his campaign promise.

Biden suggested that he had no choice but to build the wall because Congress under the Trump administration appropriated funds for it. Biden officials on Thursday stressed that the administration is bound to use the money Congress appropriated for border security.

"The money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to redirect that money," Biden said Thursday. "They didn't. They wouldn't, and in the meantime, there's nothing under the law other than they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can't stop that."

Biden also said that he did not believe a border wall works to stop illegal immigration.

Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, however, on Wednesday announced the administration would waive 26 federal laws to begin border barrier construction. He cited "an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries."

Biden administration officials, including the president, had vowed not to construct new barriers on the border. On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden promised that "there will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration." Mayorkas in 2021 said the policy of the administration is that "we do not agree with the building of the wall."

Fox News's Peter Doocy on Thursday asked Jean-Pierre about the president's promise. He asked why, if "building 20 miles of wall" is "such a problem," the administration did not challenge it in court.

"We went to Congress," Jean-Pierre answered. "Congress appropriates the funding. We asked them to not use that funding for that particular purpose. They denied it, and now we're complying with the law."

Reporters also asked Jean-Pierre why, if the wall doesn't work, Mayorkas said it was necessary. She said she had not seen the full notice.

Meanwhile, illegal crossings at the southern border have exploded. Border Patrol authorities encountered an average of 6,900 migrants per day in the first 20 days of September, just shy of the record 7,000 encounters per day they experienced in previous months. CBS News on Wednesday reported that a record 50,000 Venezuelan migrants crossed the border illegally in September.

Some Democrats reacted unfavorably to the administration's building of the wall. Texas's Beto O'Rourke, who lost runs for the presidency, Senate, and governorship, called the building of the wall "impotent political posturing."