One of Joe Biden’s first actions as president was cancelling the construction of Donald Trump’s border wall, which appropriated funds originally designated for The Department of Defense. Now the DoD is getting a refund. On Friday, the Biden Administration said they’re sending back $2 billion dollars.
“The effort [to fund the border wall] diverted critical resources away from military training facilities and schools, and caused serious risks to life, safety, and the environment,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “It also took attention away from genuine security challenges, like drug smuggling and human trafficking.”
According to Axios, the money will be redirected toward “sixty-six different defense projects, including for military housing, on-base schools and training facilities.”
CBS News reports that “the restored funding will benefit military projects in 11 states, three U.S. territories and 16 countries, including plans to add two missile interceptors in Fort Greely, Alaska and revamp an elementary school for the children of U.S. service members stationed in Germany.”
The Biden administration is also determining whether land acquired for the wall could be returned to its previous owners.
Congress has already funded $1.4 billion in additional border wall spending, a mandate the White House can’t ignore. CBS News explains, “While [The Department of Homeland Security] is legally obligated to use the funding for border barrier projects, the Biden administration on Friday called on Congress to “cancel” the remaining funds, preventing further border wall expansion.”
Meanwhile, in Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that his state will fund construction of the wall. “While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” Abbott said. He pledged to allocate a billion dollars from the state’s coffers “to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas called Abbott’s announcement “an attempt to distract from his governing failures while targeting vulnerable immigrants”.