As the Biden administration diddles around on border security, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and a handful of other GOP lawmakers have floated a plan that would allow states on the southern frontier to use federal resources to complete former President Donald Trump’s wall.
The Florida Republican last week joined a push to enact the “Border’s Unused Idle and Lying Dormant Inventory Transfer Act,” or BUILD IT Act.
According to Scott’s office, the BUILD IT Act would require the federal government to transfer “any material” planned to build a barrier along the southern border to any state that asks for it, if the states intend to use the materials for its “original purpose.”
“President Biden and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas haven’t just refused to enforce the law and protect our southern border – they’ve laid out a welcome mat for human traffickers, terrorists and savage cartels bringing drugs and crime to our communities,” Scott said in a statement.
“Border patrol agents have made more than 2 million apprehensions since Biden was elected, thanks to Biden’s policies of amnesty and open borders. I’ve been to the southern border four times and one thing is clear – we need a border wall NOW.”
Scott’s office pointed out that upon taking office in January 2021, Biden terminated construction of Trump’s proposed wall.
Since then, American taxpayers have paid contractors more than $3 million a day to monitor unused building materials, according to a report prepared by GOP staff on a subcommittee under the Senate’s Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.
That staff report itself notes that since Biden ended wall construction, taxpayers still have doled out between $1.8 billion and $2.1 billion.
“The Biden Administration is paying contractors at least $3 million per day to guard steel, concrete, and other materials in the desert. At the same time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered over 1.1 million migrants along the Southwest border this fiscal year – a 20 year high,” the report stated.
“This policy decision raises significant concerns about the Biden Administration’s immigration agenda and requires both Congressional oversight and legislative action.”
In his statement, Sen. Scott added, “Biden’s reckless decision to terminate construction of the border wall cost taxpayers at least $1.8 BILLION in the first five months following his order, and that number is rising by MILLIONS every day.”
“It makes no sense to allow construction materials American taxpayers already purchased for the purpose of building the wall remain unused. Let’s get these materials to the states to keep our communities safe.”
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is the main sponsor of the BUILD IT Act. Besides Scott, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Steve Daines of Montana have signed on. The bill is also supported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that advocates stricter border enforcement.
As an example of how ineffective Biden has been on the border, Fox News reported last week that during the first four months of 2022 since 27,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border through a gap in the wall near Yuma, Arizona.
In comparison, over the same time frame in 2020, President Trump’s last year in office, the number was 300.
In remarks last week, Ernst said America is experiencing a “huge crisis” at the border.
She noted her bill would take the “already paid for” unused materials that are “lying in the desert” and provide them to states “to finish those border barriers” and “go ahead with the work that will help protect our border.”