In fact, Alejandro Mayorkas says the administration's wish is that the border would remain as open as ever.
"There is no new administration policy with respect to border walls," Mayorkas told Fox News Thursday. "From Day One the administration has made clear that a border wall is not the answer."
That strong stance clearly aligns with the Biden administration's actions since his time in office; the images of migrants pouring across the border, and of border agents clipping barbed wire and extending helping hands; and the president's contentious relationship with the state of Texas as it has tried to protect its border.
But Mayorkas' comments are a 180-degree turn from what he wrote in an official DHS statement earlier Thursday that announced the wall construction:
"There is presently 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 into the United States in the project areas pursuant to sections 102(a) and 102 (b) of (the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996)."
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said on Washington Watch that the construction is the Democrats' response to their own "abject failure" to manage the border. The announcement also comes after the administration sold off more border wall building materials – at bargain prices – left over from Donald Trump's time in the White House.
Sessions told show host Tony Perkins the administration's announcement is trying to play "firefighter" after playing "arsonist."
The administration says its hands are tied, that Congress appropriated money for border wall construction in 2019 and stipulated that construction should be completed in 2023. Biden said he attempted to change the funding requirements but failed.
"It goes back to that original plan that was all about politics to match their political ambitions of completely turning this country into a one-party system, but what it's done is destabilize these states and cities that allow illegal immigrants to flourish there," Sessions said.
Biden the candidate: 'Read my lips – no new border wall'
Biden as a candidate pledged that wall construction would end – and on his first day in office, he signed an executive order halting on-going construction.
Biden officials blasted Trump and his staff saying a border wall was "just one example of the prior administration's misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly and humane way."
Mayorkas claimed his comments in the announcement yesterday were taken out of context.
"Our position has never wavered," he said Thursday. "The language in the Federal Register notice is being taken out of context, and it does not signify any change in policy whatsoever."