United States: Pentagon cancels wall construction projects with Mexico | international

General view of the Mexico-US border in Ciudad Juarez, in this February 2020 photo.Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

On Friday, the Biden administration announced the cancellation of all border wall construction projects between the United States and Mexico that were funded with military funds. Former President Donald Trump ordered about $ 10 billion from the Defense Department’s budget to pay for the wall after Congress refused to fund it.

The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, announced a halt to building the wall after taking office, last January. In February, the Democrat officially rescinded Trump’s emergency declaration. Biden defended in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, “I have decided that declaring a state of national emergency on our southern borders is not justified.” Logic dictates that after the construction of the wall is suspended, the next step will be to cancel it completely.

“According to the president’s announcement, the Department of Defense has canceled all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions,” Pentagon press officer Jamal Brown said on Friday. Brown added that the Pentagon “has begun to take all necessary measures” to put an end to these projects.

Trump built about 450 miles of new barriers during his tenure, mostly across the deserts and mountains of southern Arizona, in places under federal protection due to their environmental concerns, as there are endangered species. Yet the former president hasn’t built much in the Rio Grande Valley, in southern Texas, the region with the largest transit of immigrants from Mexico to the United States and the center of a massive immigration flow.

Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015 with a commitment to build a wall along the border with Mexico, the country he said would pay for. Mexico rejected it, and the House of Representatives rejected it after the Democrats took over in 2018, following the midterm elections. Trump ultimately decided to bypass Congress and switch directly to the Pentagon coffers, forcing him to allocate billions of dollars to the project.

The unknown now, which neither defense nor national security resolved on Friday, is how much money is left after the project was canceled and whether it will be used to pay for the layoffs of the builders whose excavators have stopped since Jan.20, the day Biden took office as the nation’s president. The estimate given by the Army Corps of Engineers is that there will be just over 3,000 million unused.

It is also unclear what is the final destination of the wall sections that have already been constructed. What the Department of Homeland Security has reported is that it will use the funds approved by Congress to repair the dams that were damaged at the bottom of the Rio Grande during the construction of the controversial wall.

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