The Biden administration is cancelling the “remaining construction contracts for former President Donald Trump’s border wall,” as reported by Business Insider, per a press release from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The contracts that were set for cancellation cover areas in the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors. The Department of Homeland Security’s press release adds that, following the cancellation of the contracts for border wall construction, Customs and Border Patrol “will then begin environmental planning and actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for previously planned border barrier system projects located within the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and El Centro Sectors.”
The press release clarifies that planned activities by homeland security authorities “will not involve any construction of new border barrier or permanent land acquisition.” The press release, which does not appear to be signed by anyone in particular but instead is simply a message from the department, adds a message that the Biden administration hopes for Congress to cancel remaining funding for border walls. As the release says:
‘The Administration continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border. Until and unless Congress cancels those funds, the law requires DHS to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose, and beginning environmental planning activities is part of the Department’s plan to do so.’
The Biden administration has previously cancelled other contracts for border wall construction in Texas. Pointedly, the White House Office of Management and Budget has noted that “[building] a massive wall that spans the entire southern border and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars is not a serious policy solution or responsible use of federal funds.” Trump ardently pushed for the construction of a border wall throughout his rise to prominence and his time in office, claiming more than once that Mexico would pay for the wall — which obviously never happened, but goes to show his glaring incompetence regarding world affairs. Trump and his allies have consistently focused on immigration-related issues, characterizing influxes of migrants as an “invasion” — which is and has always been a reality-disconnected way of describing what’s been happening.
The reversals of the wall construction plans aren’t the only similar moves from the Biden administration. The Biden administration is also, for instance, restoring three national monuments that had all been significantly reduced in size by ex-President Trump. The reductions, which affected the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah in addition to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the coast of New England, opened up the areas to damaging activities such as mining and drilling.