On Friday, the Pentagon declared that it is canceling all military-funded border wall building programs as part of a larger push by the Biden administration to scrap the Trump-era barrier, the Blaze reported.
“Consistent with [President Joe Biden’s] proclamation, the Department of Defense is proceeding with canceling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.
“DoD [Department of Defense] has begun taking all necessary actions to cancel border barrier projects and to coordinate with interagency partners,” the statement said. “Today’s action reflects this administration’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families.”
According to ABC News, the Biden administration is returning more than $17 billion to the Pentagon that Trump redirected under a national emergency declaration.
The Trump administration completed 450 miles of the border wall and secured funding for another 350 miles, some of which was financed with money diverted from the Defense Department. In early February, Biden canceled the emergency decree, calling it “unwarranted” and halting all projects at the time.
The Pentagon stated that the funds will be used for previously postponed military construction projects and that the list of those projects is currently being reviewed.
Those deferred projects include “schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” an official told The Hill.
The Biden administration’s decision came amid a border crisis, with an influx of illegal immigrants — including thousands of unaccompanied minors — flooding into the United States from Mexico’s southern border.
During an interview with NBC News on Friday, Biden blamed Trump for the crisis, said he inherited “one god-awful mess at the border.”
During his first address before a joint session of Congress earlier this week, Biden addressed the importance of immigration to the United States but did not set out a strategy for dealing with the border crisis.
Texas and Arizona’s Republican governors have also mobilized the national guard in recent weeks to help with their states’ border crises. They’ve asked the Biden administration to reimburse them for the costs.
Former President Donald Trump made the wall a signature topic of his 2016 campaign, and during the 2020 campaign, he touted its building as one of his administration’s accomplishments. Democrats, on the other hand, have slammed the wall as ineffective as well as a sign of xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. It is a critical part of the Trump administration’s strategy, according to officials at the border.
Officials from Trump’s administration had cautioned against delaying the wall, arguing that doing so will not only jeopardize the country’s ability to defend its borders but would also cost money and employment due to canceled contracts.