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White House Ends ‘Emergency’ at Mexican Border, Stops Border Wall Funding

January 21, 2021 by Dan McCue
Camp Pendleton Marines work near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in November 2018. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has ended construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, calling former President Donald Trump’s signature infrastructure project “a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

On Wednesday evening, Biden signed an executive order reversing Trump’s Feb. 15, 2019 declaration of a national emergency at the southern border of the United States.

The declaration, Biden said, was “unwarranted” and the building of a massive wall that spans the border was “not a serious policy solution.”

He went on to declare “it shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.

“I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall,” Biden said.

The president’s order directed the secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense to consult with the White House Office of Management and Budget on next steps.

These include:

·       Pausing work on each construction project on the southern border wall, to the extent permitted by law, as soon as possible but in no case later than seven days from now;

·       Assessing the legality of the funding and contracting methods used to construct the wall;

·       Determining the administrative and contractual consequences of ceasing each wall construction project;

·       Immediately pausing the obligation of funds related to construction of the southern border wall, to the extent permitted by law; and

·       Compiling detailed information on all southern border wall construction contracts, the completion status of each wall construction project, and the funds used for wall construction since February 15, 2019, including directly appropriated funds and funds drawn from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, the Department of Defense Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities account, and the Department of Defense Military Construction account.

The president has also directed the secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and Treasury, along with the director of the Office of Management and Budget and the attorney general to develop a plan for the redirection of funds concerning the southern border wall.

The process of developing the plan will include consideration of terminating or repurposing contracts with private contractors engaged in wall construction, while providing for the expenditure of any funds that the Congress expressly appropriated for wall construction, consistent with their appropriated purpose, the White House said.

Biden wants to review the plan they come up with within the next 60 days.

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