Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that if he is elected in November, all construction of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico will cease.
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration,” Biden told reporters, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The former vice president said that instead of a border wall, he wants to protect the southern border in some kind of “high-tech capacity” at the ports of entry.
Biden said he wouldn’t dismantle the existing fence but instead would stop construction in pursuit of a “virtual wall.”
When asked about the federal government seizing private land in the Rio Grande Valley to build sections of the border wall, Biden said that would stop.
“End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits, we’re out,” he said.
“We’re not going to confiscate the land.”
About 216 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border wall has been constructed since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, but only about “three miles of new border wall system [have been] constructed in locations where no barriers previously existed,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also addressed other Trump immigration policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy, which Biden says he will end.
The program requires most non-Mexican nationals who claim asylum at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico while their court proceedings take place.
“We have to make sure that we build up the infrastructure to be able to accommodate Trump’s cruel and inhumane border policies … ripping children from their mother’s arms and Trump’s migrant protection protocols, you know: Remain in Mexico program,” Biden said.
“I mean, all of this is going to take time, not a long time, but it’s going to take, you have to be prepared, so we don’t create another crisis.”
He said he would also stop “jailing” families seeking asylum.
“It’s outrageous, what’s being done now,” Biden said.
“This is about families, families, and you have so many young children, so many young children under enormous pressure and psychological pressure, wondering whether or not they’re going to come home and there’s no one there,” he said. “We need to do so much more.”
Biden’s immigration plan outlined on his campaign website revolves around undoing the president’s policies. The website says he would “[w]elcome immigrants in our communities,” “[r]eassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees” and “[t]ackle the root causes of irregular migration.”
“As president, Biden will finish the work of building a fair and humane immigration system — restoring the progress Trump has cruelly undone and taking it further,” the website reads.