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Pentagon stops border wall construction projects using military funds

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Then-US President Donald Trump raises his fist as he visits the US-Mexico border wall, in Alamo, Texas on Jan. 12, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

The US administration of President Joe Biden announced that it would cancel all construction on the border using diverted military funds, a Pentagon spokesman has said.

The former Trump administration increased its use of military funds to build portions of the border wall along the southern border after Congress refused to appropriate money toward the construction project in early 2019.

"Consistent with [President Biden’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,” Deputy Pentagon Spokesman Jamal Brown said on Friday.

Bu the official added that the Pentagon was reviewing projects to determine priorities.

Republicans have accused Biden of illegally halting congressionally approved funds.

Senator James Risch (Idaho), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, claimed the move would hurt US national security.

"This is an ill-advised decision at best," Risch tweeted.

The Biden administration said on Friday it would use some of the $1.4 billion appropriated for constructing the wall toward repairing environmental damage from its construction.

This is despite reports that the Biden administration is seizing land near the US-Mexico border to be used to continue building Trump’s controversial border wall.

An investigation by Politico last month that the US government has captured six acres of land in Hidalgo County, Texas.

The seized property is reportedly part of a court case brought during the Trump administration to build the controversial wall which the former Republican president was building despite strong opposition from human rights groups.

The Cavazos family, who owns the property, expressed their frustration about the Biden administration, which promised to end Trump’s policies.

Biden is under fire now over the growing humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, where an influx of refugee fleeing violence and economic hardship in Central and South America.

The White House is, in particular, wrestling with reports about conditions in overcrowded detention centers for unaccompanied immigrant children.

More than 10-thousand kids, including many of those forcibly separated from their parents, are now in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services as US officials are struggling to process them.

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