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Biden ends Trump’s US border wall construction, emergency declaration

Stretch of border wall east of El Paso. (BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES/TNS)
January 21, 2021

President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on Wednesday that terminated former-President Trump’s national emergency declaration of the United States’ southern border and canceled border wall funding, calling the project “not a serious policy solution.”

In the order, Biden said that while the United States has the right and duty to secure its borders and protect Americans from threats, a “massive wall that spans the entire southern border” is a “waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

“My Administration is committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our Nation’s values,” the order stated. “In furtherance of that commitment, I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border in Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States), was unwarranted.  It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.  I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.”

The order immediately paused funding related to border wall construction, in addition to stopping all construction work on the project “to the extent permitted by law,” but no more than seven days from the order’s issuance.

Also on Wednesday, the Biden administration announced a 100-day pause on “certain noncitizen” deportations.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said the pause, which goes into effect Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, was ordered “to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”

“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” Mr. Pekoske’s statement read.

In the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration, around 25,000 National Guard troops descended on the nation’s capital to bolster security for the event. A seven-foot non-scalable fencing topped with razor wire was also erected around the Capitol building, and the U.S. Secret Service announced the closure of dozens of streets in Washington D.C. The agency even established a “Green Zone” and a “Red Zone” in parts of DC from last Saturday until Inauguration Day.

The Secret Service’s “Green Zone” policy states “Vehicle traffic restricted to residents or businesses within the restricted area” and said “National Guard Personnel will be assisting with verifying traffic entering into the Green Zone.” A “Red Zone” included restricted parking where “authorized vehicles only with proper vehicle placard” are allowed.