US President Joe Biden has rescinded the national emergency warrant used to fund Donald Trump’s border wall. The new president also said no tax money would be spent on the planned reinforcement between Mexico and the United States.
In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Biden wrote that the warrant was “unfounded.” He also stated that he would strive to roll back ‘all resources allocated or diverted’ to construct the wall.
Building a border wall was a hallmark promise of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. But the project faced strong opposition. Trump then announced that he would use emergency powers to fund construction. And he did.
State of emergency
Trump declared a state of emergency in 2019, which allowed him to bypass the usual political process and use military funds to build the wall. When Trump left office, about $25 billion had been spent on the project.
Several types of fences totaling 654 miles (just over 1,000 kilometers) were in place before Trump became president in 2017. New barriers were built 130 kilometers in length during his tenure, replacing nearly 400 kilometers of existing parts.
“Trump’s national emergency was never about security,” Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grivalva wrote on Twitter after Biden’s announcement. “Now we have to cancel the contracts and ensure that a border wall is not built after all.”
Former Trump campaign advisor Jason Miller commented on the decision via Twitter: “Biden likes illegal immigration,” he sneered.
President Biden’s announcement is the latest in a series of decisions reversing important decisions by the former president. For example, last week, Biden signed an order to reunite migrant families split by Trump’s policies and ordered to investigate his predecessor’s immigration agenda. Adjusting migration policy was an election promise made by Biden.
A government official spoke last week of a “drastic change in migration policy” compared to Trump. Trump was so focused on the border wall that he did nothing to really address the problem. “That was very naive and it failed,” said the employee.
Some parts of the Trump administration’s immigration policy will remain in effect. White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to confirm this week that border officials can refuse undocumented immigrants.
“Because of the pandemic and the fact that we have not had the administrative time to put in place a humane, comprehensive process for the processing of people coming to the border,” she said. “This is not the time to come, the vast majority of people will be rejected.”