DHS terminating two border wall contracts


The Biden administration on Friday canceled two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, saying those sections of wall are "not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would terminate the contracts, the first of their kind to be nixed under a border barrier policy announced in June.

The two contracts called for 31 miles of border barrier to be constructed along the Rio Grande, but neither construction nor land acquisition had started.

Biden on his first day in office issued a proclamation saying the border wall "is not a serious policy solution" and ordering a review of all resources appropriated for construction.

The process of dismantling the border wall bureaucracy erected by the Trump administration has been slower, however, given that funds had been allocated through various agencies for the project.

In April, the Biden administration stopped diverting Department of Defense funds for border wall construction, and in June both the Pentagon and DHS reclaimed border wall funds for other projects, including assessing environmental damage done to the border region by wall construction.

Former President Trump has led a chorus of Republicans protesting against Biden's border policies, saying dismantling the wall and other Trump-era immigration policies engenders crime, drug trafficking and violence at the border and beyond.

A Harvard study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health found no correlation between homicides, drug overdose deaths and the existence of border barriers in counties along the border.

Still, DHS said border barrier construction is "paused" while it "continues to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary to address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning."

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