US Customs and Border Protection is terminating two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector that cover approximately 31 miles, the Department of Homeland Security announced Friday.
In one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden ordered a pause on wall construction and called for a review of projects and funds. Friday’s announcement builds on the administration’s decision to cancel all contracts for wall construction on the US-Mexico border that used funds originally intended for military missions and functions – this time, targeting projects that fall under DHS funds.
The contracts for the Laredo sector projects covered around 31 miles of border barrier construction and were funded with DHS fiscal year 2020 appropriations. Construction had not yet started.
“CBP intends to engage in environmental planning concerning these barrier projects, including taking certain actions consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other statues,” DHS said in a statement, adding that the department continues to assess all other paused border barrier projects.
Last month, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that it planned to return more than $2 billion to military projects that had previously been set aside for the construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Since 2019, more than 340 miles have been built in multiple locations along the border using Pentagon funds, according to US Customs and Border Protection. And roughly 52 miles were built where no barrier previously existed. Some wall segments cost up to $46 million per mile, according to the White House.
The US Army Corps of Engineers is also in the process of canceling 20 contracts for construction of the southern border wall.
DHS is using already-appropriated funds to address environmental issues stemming from the Trump administration’s wall construction and for construction clean up. The department is also reviewing the status of land seizure cases for wall construction, as well as land acquired in previous years, to assess whether those properties are still necessary.
Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposal included more than $1 billion for border infrastructure, like technology, but no additional funding for border wall construction.