The Biden administration has ordered construction workers on the United States-Mexico border to stop all border wall projects by the end of Tuesday.
According to the Washington Examiner, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said U.S. Customs and Border Protection told federal contractors building the 18- to 30-foot-tall portion of the steel wall across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to stop construction.
“This morning, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I received notification that in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, all CBP contractors have now been formally notified by CBP Procurement to pause construction activities on CBP self-executed projects,” the congressman said in a Monday statement.
“This is a promising step in our work to halt construction of the ineffective and wasteful border wall and undo the damage that borderlands have experienced these past four years.”
“However, our work continues. I remain steadfast in my commitment to working with the new administration until every border wall contract is terminated and all construction crews leave our border communities,” Cuellar added.
The Examiner reported that the Trump administration allocated over $15 billion to fund the roughly 750 planned miles of the border wall.
As of the beginning of January, CBP completed about 452 miles of the border wall, according to KHOU-TV.
The move to halt construction comes after President Joe Biden ended the emergency at the Southern border on Jan. 20 and redirected the funds that had been dedicated to building the wall.
“Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats. But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution,” Biden said in his proclamation.
“It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”
The president also called for a review of the resources that had been “appropriated” to build the wall.
Cueller and 34 other representatives wrote a letter to Biden prior to his inauguration urging him to take action “to undo the significant harm the previous administration has imposed on border communities in our country.”
The letter called for the Biden administration to terminate the emergency declaration and return the funds to their original Defense and Military Construction accounts.
They also asked the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General “to dismiss all ongoing condemnation litigation, and related civil proceedings against private and public landowners.”
The border wall’s construction was one of former President Donald Trump’s campaign promises in the 2016 election.
Construction on the wall is paused for now, as the Biden administration assesses the “legality of the funding and contracting methods” and the consequences of stopping construction altogether, according to Biden’s proclamation.
“After the plan is developed, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all appropriate steps to resume, modify, or terminate projects and to otherwise implement the plan.”
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