The Biden administration announced a plan to return more than $2 billion in funding which had been diverted from Pentagon projects to be used for border wall construction. Construction on the border wall has been suspended since the beginning of Biden’s presidency, though the border wall project has yet to be cancelled completely. The $1.9 million which had been previously appropriated by Congress for the project will be used for drainage and erosion control or any other environmental damage caused by wall construction.
According to Alejandro Mayorkas, security secretary of DHS, the Biden admin seeks to leave the agency’s budget unchanged at $52.2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year, despite probable migration surges along the border. All other federal agencies are receiving substantial increases in funding.
The state of wall-building and funding, and options for the Biden administration to cease all construction and repair at least some of the damage.
Looks at how CBP misspent much of $192 million that Congress had appropriated to attend to the humanitarian needs of migrants in custody. (Link at oig.dhs.gov)
A profile of the owner of Fisher Sand and Gravel, a company that has used connections to the President to gain a large share of border wall construction contracts.
A detailed look at the funding, management, and legal authority for the Trump administration’s deployments of military personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border. (Link at dodig.mil)
An overview of key measures in the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 DHS appropriation, including cutting border wall spending, defunding “Remain in Mexico,” reducing ICE detention, and others.
Finds serious fault with CBP’s handling of the health of children in custody and its use of funds designated by Congress for humanitarian purposes. (Link at gao.gov)
The House appropriators’ narrative report accompanying the 2021 bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. (Link at appropriations.house.gov)
- Mother Jones releases a report examining the cost overruns of the border wall system construction project from March 2018 to present day, with a specific focus on contracting deals and controversies involving Fisher Sand and Gravel.
GAO finds that CBP failed to spend emergency funds for detained migrants’ consumables, medical care, and humane processing as Congress intended, instead devoting the money to items like boats, dirt bikes, and office upgrades. (Link at gao.gov)
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) states that CBP violated the purpose statute by listing goods and services in their supplemental FY 2019 appropriations that were not made available, including “consumables and medical care” and “establishing and operating migrant care and processing facilities.” The funding was instead used to pay for dirt bikes, canine supplies, computer equipment, and other enforcement-related expenditures. GOA directs CBP to either obligate the account to its appropriate purpose or report a violation of the Antideficiency Act as required by law.
- The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments over House Democrats’ lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s use of defense funding to build the wall along the southern border. The case is one of several lawsuits filed against the Trump administration over its emergency border wall funding.
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a memo to acting Pentagon Comptroller Elain McCusker, directs McCusker to “release funding associated with 22 currently deferred projects within the United States” totaling over $500 million to “enable the execution” of border wall construction. To fill the hole left by restoring the funds, Esper substitutes overseas projects appropriated by Congress, including $274 million worth of military construction projects in Europe intended to deter Russia.
GAO found that Customs and Border Protection wildly overspent on a tent facility to house apprehended migrants during late 2019. (Link at gao.gov)
- The House Committee on Appropriations releases its Immigration and Customs Enforcement Budget Request for FY2021 and the Judiciary Department Budget Request for FY2021.
- During a 9th Circuit Court hearing, attorneys for the Sierra Club, multiple states, and the U.S. House of Representatives argue that the Trump administration has overstepped its constitutional authority by using $3.8 billion in Pentagon funds for the border wall. The plaintiffs argue that the executive branch cannot defy congressional control of the power of the purse “by concocting some fake national emergency to justify the military construction of what amounts to a civilian project.” The three-judge panel took the matter for review.