US President Joe Biden’s administration has announced it’s scrapping the former President’s plans to construct a border wall with Mexico.
President Biden announced the border wall would be suspended on Friday, a move that was widely anticipated, The Washington Post reports. Mr Biden first announced he intended to cancel the controversial project in January after his inauguration.
Former president Donald Trump had ordered billions of dollars from the US Pentagon be diverted to pay for the border wall, after funding for his centrepiece project was denied by the Congress.
RELATED: Inside Trump’s ‘unconventional’ new life
RELATED: Authorities raid home of Trump’s lawyer
Mr Trump launched his bid for presidency with a vow to build a “great wall” between the US and Mexico in 2015. At the time, he said he would force Mexico to pay for its construction.
Once elected, Trump proceeded with plans to build physical barrier, however, Mexico refused to pay.
In 2018 when the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, the wall project was denied federal funding.
Mr Trump found cash for the project through bypassing the congress, and “controversially dipping directly into the Pentagon’s coffers, forcing the Defence Department to allocate billions of dollars for the project”, AFP reports.
He reallocated about $US10 billion from military construction accounts and counter-narcotics programs to build the wall.
The Trump administration constructed some 724km of steel barriers, largely in southern Arizona in nature reserves. The Washington Post reports the Rio Grande Valley, where there is a concentration of border crossings, had less barriers constructed.
Mr Biden has criticised the project as wasteful and ineffective.
“The Department of Defence is proceeding with cancelling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” Jamal Brown, the deputy Pentagon spokesman said.
“Today’s action reflects this Administration’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families.”
The statement didn’t indicate how much federal cash would be saved by cancelling the project.
Questions also remain about demobilisation costs, left by bulldozer and excavator contractors whose contracts were halted by Mr Biden’s decision in January.