Since taking office, President Joe Biden has made reversing Trump-era immigration policies a top priority, something further evidenced by his decision this week to formalize the cancellation of a key initiative launched by his predecessor.
The Washington Examiner reports that the Defense Department will proceed with plans to end border wall construction projects initiated by the Trump administration and funded with money that had been diverted from elsewhere within the federal government via a national emergency declaration.
Almost immediately after his inauguration in January, Biden signed an executive order that temporarily halted border wall construction for a period of 60 days. The rationale behind the move was to give administration officials additional time to assess how much it would cost to void current contracts and to determine if funds previously allocated to the projects could be used in other ways.
As Breitbart noted in March, Biden’s construction moratorium was costing taxpayers approximately $6 million every single day because of material orders that had already been placed and the fact that contractors were being compensated for the expenses incurred in idling their equipment.
This past week, however, it was announced that the halt announced in January would be made permanent, with Pentagon spokesperson Jamal Brown stating that “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.”
Further noting that funding was already in the process of being rescinded, Brown emphasized that “Today’s action reflects this administration’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families,” also pointing to funding needs for “schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” as Breitbart noted.
The Biden administration’s move is somewhat curious, however, in light of recent reports suggesting that there may be a limited restart of border wall construction in some areas designed to plug “gaps” in what is already there. The Washington Timeshas repoted that Deparment of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said as much to Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel last month, indicating that Biden’s cancellation of the emergency-funded projects would allow “room to make decisions” on other pressing needs.
Biden’s decision to put a stop to construction deemed critical by the Trump administration has been applauded by some on the left as a big step toward fulfillment of his campaign promise not to build another foot of border wall, with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) expressing hope that it will help “begin repairing the damage” such projects have supposedly caused.
However, considering how quickly the administration is taking on water among the American electorate with regard to its handling of the migrant surge in particular and immigration matters in general, cancellation of border wall construction may ultimately backfire on Biden in a big way.