(The Center Square) – A North Carolina congressman has introduced a bill to require the federal government to restart rebuilding the border wall, which was halted by President Joe Biden.
U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-NC, introduced the Build the Wall Now Act, which removes all legal impediments to building the border wall. Among other things, it unlocks an additional $2.1 billion that was appropriated in fiscal years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 that weren’t spent.
Congress allocated $6 billion for the wall’s construction between fiscal years 2018 and 2021, according to the General Accounting Office.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the administration last fall, asking the court to require the administration to resume building the wall using funds already appropriated by Congress.
Within a month of the AGs’ lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was using the money on environmental and cleanup projects in certain areas of Arizona, California and Texas. Funds would be used to “address life, safety, environmental, and remediation requirements for border barrier projects” in the San Diego, El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, and Del Rio Border Patrol sectors.
As the AGs’ lawsuit makes its way through court and as border communities brace for an estimated roughly 18,000 people expected to come through the southern border after Title 42 is repealed next month, Budd said, “The best way to end the Biden Border Crisis is to finish the border wall now.”
“The Biden administration is trying to run out the regulatory clock on wall construction while undermining our border patrol officers by repealing Title 42,” he said in a statement. “Every time I visit the southern border, law enforcement agents tell me how Biden’s open border policy is endangering our national security and the safety of the entire interior of our country.”
Title 42 is a public health authority that allows Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to quickly process and deport illegal immigrants under a public health emergency. It was used by the Trump administration to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Biden administration announced it was ending it May 23.