Pentagon Halts Border Wall Construction Funded by Military

POLITICS & POLICY
Construction workers place a section of new bollard wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in Santa Teresa, N.M., April 23, 2018. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

The Pentagon announced that it would cancel all contracts for construction of a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border using military funds, in a statement to the media on Friday.

“Consistent with the President’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,” Deputy Pentagon Spokesman Jamal Brown said in a statement. Those functions include “schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account.”

The Department of Defense “has begun taking all necessary actions to cancel border barrier projects and to coordinate with interagency partners,” Brown added.

The announcement comes after President Biden signed an executive order in January halting most construction of barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, pending further review. The review was initially scheduled to last 60 days but has extended beyond that deadline.

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The Trump administration failed to obtain funding for a border wall in the federal budget passed by Congress in 2019. That failure led then-President Trump to declare a national emergency at the southern border, allowing his administration to divert Pentagon funding towards construction efforts.

Around 450 miles of barriers were constructed during the Trump administration, although the vast majority of barriers were built to replace earlier, dilapidated fencing.

The Biden administration’s decision to pause border wall construction came amidst a major influx of migrants across the southern border. Much of the refurbished border barriers were built in southern Arizona, while the current influx of migrants is occurring primarily in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

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