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Defense Department cancels border wall construction, diverts funds

The Pentagon said it will divert military funds used to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall to fund military construction projects. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI
1 of 5 | The Pentagon said it will divert military funds used to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall to fund military construction projects. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) -- The Defense Department said Friday it canceled border wall construction projects that were being paid for with funds originally destined for the military.

The announcement comes in the wake of an executive order President Joe Biden signed in February ending a national emergency declaration at the border put in place by former President Donald Trump. Biden also signed an order in January halting all construction of the barrier.

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Trump declared the emergency in February 2019 in order to divert $600 million from the Treasury Department and $6.1 billion from the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security for border wall construction.

"Consistent with the president's proclamation, the Department of Defense is proceeding with canceling 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," said Jamal Brown, deputy Pentagon spokesman.

"DOD has begun taking all necessary actions to cancel border barrier projects and to coordinate with interagency partners. Today's action reflects this administration's continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families."

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The Pentagon said that with the cancellation, it will divert the funds to be used for deferred military construction projects, "allowing some of these critical efforts to move forward as soon as possible." The department said it's reviewing projects to determine which has priority.

Overall, the Trump administration built approximately 450 miles of the wall -- most of which was the reinforcement or replacement of existing barriers -- along the 1,954-mile southern border.

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Migrants ride an inflatable raft on the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman, Guatemala, while a smuggler waits for their arrival in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico on Thursday. Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

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