The Biden administration has decided to cancel two contracts issued under the Trump administration to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the two cancellations in a statement on Friday, July 23, making them the first terminations since the Homeland Security Department (DHS) released its Plan for Use of Border Barrier Funds in June, which lays out the guiding principles framing decisions related to border barrier construction.
Two contracts are for approximately 31 miles of border barrier construction funded with the DHS fiscal year 2020 appropriations.
According to Border Report, both contracts were worth more than $500 million, awarded to different contractors.
DHS said that the construction has not yet started on the two Laredo Sector projects, and no land acquisition has begun, claiming that they “are not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental or other remediation requirements, as described in the DHS border wall plan implementing President Biden’s proclamation.”
However, a statement from Trump-era CBP released in September 2020 stated that the construction is slated to begin in September 2021.
The cancellations come after the Biden administration announced in April it will cancel border wall contracts from the Trump era. Biden sought to terminate the border wall work upon his coming into office.
DHS said that it will continue to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary.
“The Administration also continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border,” DHS said.
While the Biden administration sabotaged the completion of the border wall started during the Trump era, Texas has begun building its own border fence in an effort to stop illegal migrants from entering the United States through the state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on July 16 announced a border wall construction strategy, in which his state administration and lawmakers signed a letter authorizing the transfer for $250 million as a down payment to launch the construction of the border wall.
“Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border. In the Biden Administration’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done by building the border wall,” Gov. Abbott said in a tweet.
Republican lawmakers have frequently voiced against the Biden administration’s border policy. On Wednesday, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, led a group of Republicans in releasing a report criticizing the Biden administration for “waste of taxpayer resources” by canceling border wall contracts.