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Sunday, May 28th, 2023

DHS halts redirection of funds for US-Mexico border barrier projects, seeks to repair construction-caused damages

© DHS / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While the Biden administration still intends to pursue some form of the Southern Border wall, the redirection of any funding from other federal agencies for border barrier projects has been terminated.

Declaring that the Trump administration’s previous border wall construction efforts created extensive and dangerous problems, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instead announced a review to develop new plans in the future. Instead, the department is currently working to repair the Rio Grande Valley Flood Barrier System and Remediate what it has labeled dangerous soil erosion in a 14 mile stretch of San Diego, California.

Both issues are a direct result of the prior administration’s construction efforts, according to the DHS, and are but a segment of needed repairs. In the Rio Grande, border wall construction blew large holes in the region’s flood barrier system, which had provided Hidalgo County, Texas protection against catastrophic flooding — breaches that now threaten local communities. Meanwhile, in San Diego, improper compaction of soil and construction materials along a wall segment resulted in dangerous erosion, for which backfill will be required.

Among those agencies that had seen money redirected to construction efforts over the last four years was the Department of Defense (DoD). Under Trump-era policies, unobligated military construction funds had been diverted from military construction projects.

“Consistent with the President’s proclamation, the Department of Defense is proceeding with canceling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” Jamal Brown, Deputy Pentagon spokesman, said. “DOD has begun taking all necessary actions to cancel border barrier projects and to coordinate with interagency partners. Today’s action reflects this Administration’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families.”

These unobligated military construction funds will revert to previously deferred military construction projects, although a review is underway to determine which receive priority.