President Joe Biden is being investigated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine whether he broke the law by freezing billions of dollars allocated by Congress for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, Politico reported on Tuesday.
During his first day in office, Biden paused funding for the border wall, and doing so may have broken rules in place to safeguard Congress’ control of the federal budget. Additionally, Congressional Republicans say Biden’s action has contributed to the worsening crisis at America’s southern border.
“In one of the first official acts of his presidency, Joseph Biden suspended border wall construction and ordered a freeze of funds provided by Congress for that purpose,” forty GOP lawmakers said in a letter to the GAO last week. “In the weeks that followed, operational control of our southern border was compromised and a humanitarian and national security crisis has ensued. The President’s actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario.”
“They are also in blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’ constitutional power of the purse,” the letter continued.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said the president – who spent over 30 years as a senator – should know better than to usurp Congressional authority.
“He was in the Congress a long time,” Blunt said in an interview. “He knows it’s the Congress’ job to authorize how the money is spent and the president’s job to spend it efficiently.”
Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, a manager at the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, echoed Republicans’ concerns.
“A lot of us agree that the border wall was a very stupid idea — a waste of money — but Congress decided to waste the money on that,” said Hedtler-Gaudette. “The way to address that is not to have the executive branch override the legislative branch.”
The reported investigation comes as illegal immigration continues to overwhelm Customs and Border Protection agents and facilities at the US-Mexico border.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration released its first official footage from inside CBP facilities amid mounting pressure over the media’s limited access.
The footage, recorded a week before its Tuesday release, shows cramped living conditions inside a processing facility in El Paso, Texas, and a holding facility in Donna, Texas, where thousands of migrants await transfer to other federal agencies, ABC News reported.
Among those in the centers are thousands of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children, who can be seen packed into transparent enclosures called “pods,” sleeping on mats on the floor.
According to internal CBP documents reviewed by ABC, there are 3,889 migrants being held in the Donna facility that is supposed to hold just 250, putting it 1,556 percent over capacity.
At least 5,000 unaccompanied children are also currently in Border Patrol custody, with an additional 10,500 being cared for by the Department of Health and Human Services, the news outlet reported.