If this story is the “cancel culture” that conservatives complain about so much, then it seems pretty great! As shared on Twitter by ABC reporter Ben Siegel, the Biden administration is returning some $14 billion that the Trump administration “seized” from the Defense Department during their mad rush to build a “wall” at the southern border. Trump’s so-called wall turned out to be long rows of steel bollards with space between each chunk of metal, and many of these barrier pieces merely replaced old barriers that were already in place.
NEW: The Biden administration will return $14 billion+ in military funds to the Pentagon, money seized by the Trump administration to build the border wall.
They'll also cancel those contracts, repair levees in the Rio Grande Valley, and erosion near San Diego.
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) April 30, 2021
Critically, the Trump administration funded this pointless exercise with taxpayer money, because — to the surprise of no one who actually knows what they’re talking about — Trump’s promise to get Mexico to pay for the “wall” was never realistic and didn’t pan out. Trump signed a national emergency declaration covering the southern border in order to give himself an on-the-books excuse to redirect government funds towards his wall projects. On two occasions, Congress — including the at-the-time GOP-led Senate — approved measures to revoke Trump’s emergency declaration, but Trump unsurprisingly vetoed the measures, and Congress didn’t have enough support for a procedural vote to override his vetoes.
After taking office, Biden cancelled Trump’s deceptive emergency declaration covering the southern border. Going forward, the Biden administration is — besides cancelling the construction contracts that the some $14 billion was for — planning to “repair levees in the Rio Grande Valley, and erosion near San Diego,” Siegel adds.
Environmental advocates have raised serious concerns about the environmental impacts of some of Trump’s wall construction. As University of Arizona biologist Aaron Flesch put it to Scientific American, the Trump team was “blasting in these crazy places that are just totally impassable by people but are really important habitat.” Not all of the damage can be fixed — Sky Islands Alliance ecologist Emily Burns explained to the publication that the “face of the Huachuca Mountains — on national public lands — has been blasted, and that’s not reparable.” The Huachuca Mountains are in Arizona.