In a letter to Congress, Biden said the White House's policy now is that "no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall"

By Katie Campione
February 11, 2021 09:11 PM
U.S. President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
| Credit: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty

President Joe Biden on Thursday revoked a national emergency declaration that was being used to fund construction for former President Donald Trump's border wall.

In a letter to Congress, Biden wrote that it was now the White House's police that "no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall."

Trump first declared a national emergency on February 15, 2019 after Congress refused to approve funding for the wall — prompting the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The declaration of a national emergency allowed Trump to divert military funding toward the project. It was extended on February 13, 2020.

"I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border was unwarranted," Biden wrote in his letter Thursday.

He added he is "directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected" toward the construction of the wall.

US Mexico Border
Credit: HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

On the day of his inauguration, the president issued a pause on all construction and funding to the southern border wall. He also said his administration would be working on a plan to redirect funding and repurpose the contracts being used for the wall's construction.

As of January 15, the federal government had spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in work that it had already signed contracts to have done, according to the Associated Press.

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Had construction continued to the contracts' completion, the wall would have extended 664 miles. Just eight days before he left office, Trump said that more than 450 miles of the wall had been built, AP reports.

The revocation of border wall funding is just one of many actions taken by the Trump administration that Biden has sought to reverse since he took office.

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On his first day in office, Biden also revoked a Trump executive order establishing his administration's 1776 Commission, an 18-member panel that aimed to rewrite history and develop an education framework rooted in "patriotism."

He also rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, canceled the March 2019 permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline and overturned the Trump policy of making sanctuary cities ineligible for federal grants.

On Thursday, Biden's administration pressed pause on Trump's attempt to ban TikTok in the U.S. or force its sale to American companies, PEOPLE confirmed.

Justice Department lawyer Casen Ross wrote in a new motion filed in federal court Wednesday that the government was requesting an "abeyance" — or ongoing delay — while they review the Trump administration's decisions.