President Joe Biden on Thursday formally terminated former President Donald Trump’s two-year-old declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the order by his predecessor “unwarranted.”
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris, in her capacity as president of the Senate, Biden announced that government funds would no longer be diverted toward construction of a border wall and that he was “directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”
Biden’s proclamation represents his latest effort to undo some of the previous administration’s most controversial policies in his opening weeks in office, many of which were related to immigration and law enforcement at the southern border.
Trump’s national emergency declaration in February 2019 came after a 35-day government shutdown that resulted in him signing a bipartisan government funding bill allocating $1.375 billion for border security.
That amount was far less than the $5.7 billion Trump had sought to build a wall separating the U.S. and Mexico, so the then-president circumvented Congress by declaring a national emergency at the border.
In total, Trump’s declaration diverted more than $6 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of border barrier. Of those funds, $3.6 billion were earmarked for military construction, $2.5 billion were dedicated to a Defense Department drug prevention program and $600 million were from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund.
The order was met by legal challenges and rebukes among members of Congress from both parties. Additionally, a bipartisan group of nearly five dozen former national security officials condemned the decision.