US President Joe Biden has officially ended the “national emergency” his predecessor Donald Trump declared in order to take money from the Pentagon to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
- President Joe Biden has officially ended Donald Trump’s border wall “national emergency”
- He also ordered a review of all money spent on the project so far
- Mr Trump took money from military funds after Congress refused his demands
The White House released a letter on Thursday (local time) from Mr Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi notifying Congress that he had rescinded his predecessor’s February 2019 proclamation.
It was simply a formality since Mr Biden had ordered a halt to border wall construction shortly after he took office.
In his letter, the President said Mr Trump’s declaration of a national emergency had been “unwarranted” and that he had directed that “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall”.
He also ordered a review of all money spent on the project so far.
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The US has been building border walls for decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Mr Trump made the effort a centrepiece of his first presidential campaign, vowing to build a wall across the entire border and have Mexico pay for it.
Just 720km of the wall had been built by the time Donald Trump’s term ended.(AP: Jacquelyn Martin)
Mr Trump took roughly $US6 billion ($7.7 billion) from military funds under the national emergency he declared after Congress refused his demands for wall funding, leading to the longest government shutdown in history.
The Supreme Court upheld a legal challenge to Mr Trump’s action in a 5-4 vote in July 2019.
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By the end of his administration, the US had completed more than 720 kilometres of a new wall along the 3,145 kilometre border.
Mr Trump showcasing a section of the border wall separating the United States and Mexico.
Much of the construction was in areas where there had already been some form of barrier.
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President Donald Trump has insisted that the US needs a wall to stop, among other things, “drugs and drug dealers”.
Mr Trump’s administration officials said the border wall slowed down smugglers and people crossing the border illegally so they could be more easily apprehended.
Critics said there were more effective tools for enforcement and that parts of the new construction damaged environmentally sensitive areas or were in places where a wall wasn’t needed.
There were also private landholders who objected to having their property seized for the project.
As of January 15, the government had spent about $6 billion ($7.7 billion) of the nearly $US11 billion ($14 billion) in work it signed contracts to have done.