The Department of Defense will pause construction of the US-Mexico border wall as it continues to review President Biden’s executive order calling for construction to grind to a halt, according to Raini W. Brunson, a spokesperson for the US Army Corps of Engineers.
“(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) will take the appropriate actions in accordance with the E.O. and will coordinate our actions with the Department of Defense and our partners at the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” Brunson told CNN in a statement.
The US Army Corps of Engineers oversees border wall contracts.
“We are following the direction provided in the E.O. as to how to implement the pause,” Brunson added.
Activity may still continue at sites over the next few days to ensure they’re safe, an administration told CNN.
Biden took an immediate shot at one of his predecessor’s key legacies Wednesday evening when signing a proclamation called for border wall construction to grind to a halt. “It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall,” Biden’s proclamation reads.
Over the last four years, billions of dollars had been put aside for additional barriers on the US-Mexico border, prompting a slew of lawsuits and pushback from environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers.
Days from the end of his term, former President Trump paid the wall a visit, citing it as an accomplishment of his administration.
Of the roughly 455 miles constructed under Trump, the majority replaced old, dilapidated barriers with a new enhanced wall system, a marked difference from the fencing previously constructed in some regions.
Forty-nine miles have gone up where no barriers previously existed, according to the latest figures from Customs and Border Protection.
“(Wednesday’s) proclamation will likely result in what’s called a suspension of work on the border wall,” said Travis Sharp, research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “During the suspension of work, the contractor must keep track of any additional expenses caused by the delay, so that the government can potentially reimburse those expenses later.”