The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it is canceling more contracts to erect a border wall in the Rio Grande Valley even as the DHS recently said it was bracing for up to 400,000 border apprehensions this month, the New York Post reported over the weekend.
The unspent cash that Congress allocated for constructing the wall will be spent instead on environmental projects, including “biological, cultural, and natural resource surveys” in the border region, according to a DHS statement.
The announcement is the latest in the ongoing move to cancel contracts for constructing a wall along the US-Mexico border after President Joe Biden, in one of his first steps after entering the White House, ordered a pause in building the wall and called for a review of projects and funds, according to CNN.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar told CNN that the latest cancellations are for 44 miles.
He insisted in a statement that the authorities “will now be able to utilize redirected funds for the deployment of innovative border security technology that helps DHS achieve operational control and provide situational awareness between the ports of entry.”
Republicans harshly criticized the move, with Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford tweeting, “Leave it to Biden and his team to cancel border contracts for ‘environmental reasons’ when we have a 21-year high of illegal crossers. It is obvious that they do not want to stop illegal immigration.”
He added that “everyone sees what’s going on at the border except for this administration.”
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw called on Twitter for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to be impeached for cancelling border wall contracts during a border crisis.
Former chief of the United States Border Patrol Rodney Scott slammed the Biden administration for its actions on the issue since taking over in January, telling Fox News, “we were supposed to do an in depth study and then come up with a plan going forward” regarding the border wall.
“Border Patrol did its part, everything, that was done within about two weeks. Several briefings later, there really had not been any decisions made, it went well beyond the 60 days. Many of those projects today are just still on hold. So we’re paying contractors, for a while it was almost $5 million a day between DOD and DHS.”
Scott said “there are stacks and stacks of border wall panels, there’s hundreds of miles of fiber optic cabling, there’s hundreds of cameras that were being installed with that, that are just sitting, there’s no action being taken.”