The Biden Administration is returning more than $2 billion in unused money for the southern border wall that had been shifted from the Pentagon by the Trump administration and is reviewing on whether to return land the Trump administration had seized from private landowners for the border wall. Congress allotted $1,329 billion for the border barrier construction repair and clean up remining construction sites and to address the damages that the construction caused according to reports from the White House.
The White House felt bound by the President Biden’s statement during his 2020 presidential campaign that he would not build another mile of the wall—the central part of the previous administration.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on a spending panel overseeing the Department of Homeland Security sent a letter in March to the Government Accountability Office highlighting that it is illegal to refuse to spend money Congress allotted for special purpose. However, under the plan detailed on Friday, the $1,329 Billion for the border wall will instead be used to pay constructors to clean up excavators, bulldozers, and other equipment left at the sites when the Biden administration froze construction project es his first day in office.
Existing sections that will be repaired: a flood levy in Texas that builders damaged while preparing to construct a wall section on top of it, and a 14-mile stretch pf wall near San Diego where soil erosion occurred.
A White House spokesman, for the Office of Management and Budget said no money would used to extend the wall’s length for any of the repair projects but did not rule out whether there will be any future projects on building more barrier. Migrants continue to cross the southern border in large number led by single adults illegally making multiple attempts to cross. It is reported large number of unaccompanied and families crossing the border as well though numbers have fallen in the past two months.
While the Trump administration built 450 miles of border fencing with 30 ft steel bollards placed a few inches apart, most of the wall was built in the deserts and mountains of Arizona and California where the federal government already owned land; 52 miles of fencing was built in areas where no barrier was built. The previous administration was unable to build much in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where large influx of illegal migrants cross because the previous administration had to first seize the land near the border from private owners, facing eminent domain lawsuits would take years to complete.
The Trump administration diverted $10 million from military construction projects and counternarcotic programs under the Pentagon’s budget to help pay for the wall. However, the Biden administration said the $2 billion which it is returning with help fund 66 military construction projects and renovation of an elementary school serving children of military members in Germany and an expansion of a missile field at Fort Greely in Alaska.