President Joe Biden continues to cancel border wall contracts issued during the Trump administration, as the Department of Homeland Security will terminate projects within the Border Patrol’s Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors. This action leaves construction material wasted as the border crisis continues.
“Consistent with the Department of Homeland Security’s border barrier plan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, intends to cancel the remaining border barrier contracts located within U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector and all border barrier contracts located in the Rio Grande Valley Sector,” the agency stated.
CBP will then begin environmental planning and actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act for previously planned border barrier system projects located within the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and El Centro Sectors.
The Biden administration continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund “smarter” border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, as a way to improve safety and security at the border. “Until and unless Congress cancels those funds, the law requires DHS to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose, and beginning environmental planning activities is part of the Department’s plan to do so,” the agency said.
Environmental planning activities will cover projects funded with DHS’s Fiscal Year 2018-2021 barrier system appropriations where construction had not started. These activities include additional biological, cultural, and natural resource surveys for project areas where no data have been previously collected. CBP will also conduct comprehensive and targeted outreach with interested stakeholders, including impacted landowners, tribes, state and local elected officials, and federal agencies.
These activities will not involve any construction of new border barrier or permanent land acquisition, according to DHS.
This announcement has no impact on previously approved remediation projects necessary to address life, safety, and environmental restoration issues in the Rio Grande Valley, San Diego, and El Centro Sectors in accordance with the Department’s plan.