Headline RoundupSeptember 8th, 2023

GAO Releases Report on Border Wall

Summary from AllSides News Team

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report Thursday on the southern border wall's natural and cultural impacts.

The Details: The report says the wall caused "various impacts, including to cultural resources, water sources, and endangered species, and from erosion," and that President Joe Biden's decision to halt the project in 2021 led to "safety hazards left at incomplete project sites" and threatened "the integrity of the barrier system." 

Key Quotes: The report urges the Interior Department and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collaborate on "clearly defining their roles and responsibilities for" and "identifying the costs and time frames to complete all of the identified mitigation actions."

For Context: Former President Donald Trump authorized the wall's construction in 2017, and 458 miles had been built when Biden stopped the effort. In 2022, the Biden administration authorized construction to fill in gaps along the wall.

How the Media Covered it: Left- and center-rated sources covered the news more prominently than right-rated sources did, and framed it very differently. NBC News (Lean Left bias) said the report showed that Trump's "efforts to deliver on a campaign promise" hurt the "migration of endangered species, eroded federal lands, disrupted water flow and 'irreparably' damaged sacred tribal sites." Washington Times (Lean Right bias) said the report found that "President Trump’s border wall scarred the environment, but so did President Biden’s order to halt all work." Most left-rated sources didn't mention that finding, and focused on framing Trump's immigration policies negatively.

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