The Biden Administration on Friday announced plans for how it will redirect billions of dollars former President Donald Trump diverted from the military’s budget to build sections of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border—another step taken by Biden to dismantle a key pillar of Trump’s legacy and fulfill a campaign promise.
- In a press release, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) detailed how it will spend the $2 billion Trump diverted from military projects for border wall construction.
- The funds will go to “66 previously deferred projects in 11 states, 3 territories, and 16 countries,” the OMB said.
- This money will restore funding for projects such as construction on a school for U.S. military children in Germany that “lacks proper air-conditioning, plumbing and security systems,” and the creation of a new complex for two battalions in North Carolina, the OMB stated.
- The controversy over diverted funds began in 2019, when Trump declared a national emergency at the border and began to redirect billions of dollars that were allocated by Congress for other purposes to build the wall.
One of the first executive orders President Joe Biden issued when he took office was to pause construction of the border wall and call on his administration to offer a plan for how it would redirect the funds. However, while most of the money used for border wall construction were diverted from other projects, Biden cannot cancel all funding. That’s because Congress previously appropriated $1.9 billion specifically for border wall construction. Biden has called on Congress to cancel that funding, a request the OMB restated in its press release Friday. Congress should “cancel” these funds “so that these resources can instead be used for modern, privacy-protective and effective border management measures like enhanced technology between points of entry and improved infrastructure at Land Ports of Entry,” the OMB said. The press release also requests funding for aid for Central America to “address the root causes of migration,” as well as for immigration judges and to help the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “reduce asylum backlogs and modernize systems.” As a candidate, Biden promised there would be no new construction of a border wall if elected, but that he would also not tear down sections of the wall already built.
The OMB said the Biden Administration is also “addressing safety and environmental issues resulting from border wall construction” under the Trump Administration. That includes the Department of Homeland Security reviewing “the status of all pending border wall land eminent domain actions” to assess which land acquired by the federal government in previous years “remains necessary.”
“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,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a press release.
52. That’s the number of miles of new border wall that was built while Trump was in office. In 2016, when he was campaigning for president, Trump promised voters Mexico would pay for the wall.