DALLAS - Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that while he won’t tear down President Trump’s much-touted wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico, he also won’t continue construction of the barrier if he’s elected president in November.
“There will not be another foot of wall construction in my administration,” Biden said during an interview, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to make sure that we have border protection, but it’s going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it. And at the ports of entry — that’s where all the bad stuff is happening.”
The border wall was one of Trump’s signature proposals during his 2016 presidential campaign and has been a flashpoint of conflict between his administration and Democrats since he assumed office. To date, only 277 miles of the wall has been completed, but Trump on Tuesday promised that “it will be almost finished by the end of the year.”
The entire length of the border with Mexico is 1,974 miles.
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Along with halting construction of the wall, Biden vowed that, if elected, he would also end land confiscations along the border that had been taken to build the wall.
“End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We’re out. We’re not going to confiscate the land,” Biden said.
Biden’s position on border barriers has changed over time.
A video recently surfaced from 2006 of then-Sen. Biden of Delaware advocating for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Folks, I voted for a fence, I voted, and unlike most Democrats -- and some of you won't like it -- I voted for 700 miles of fence," he said, in the video unearthed by CNN.
Biden added: "But, let me tell you, we can build a fence 40 stories high -- unless you change the dynamic in Mexico and -- and you will not like this, and -- punish American employers who knowingly violate the law when, in fact, they hire illegals. Unless you do those two things, all the rest is window dressing.”
A spokesperson for Biden’s campaign said that the former vice president’s position hasn't changed but that a border wall wouldn't "address the real issues."
"As then-Senator Biden said at the time, 'we can build a fence 40 stories high,' but it will not address the real issues here. Vice President Biden believes we have to stop trying to scare people and instead have an immigration discussion based on facts," spokesman Andrew Bates said.
"He believes that we can secure our borders without abandoning our values, and that we should do that by addressing the root causes of immigration abroad and working toward comprehensive immigration reform at home, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and smart border security.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.