Biden’s Order to Stop Trump’s Border Wall Construction Will Be Costly and Also It’s Likely Illegal
Joe Biden’s Executive Order demanding stopping the building of the southern wall may be costly but also unconstitutional.
Joe Biden signed an executive order to stop the building of the border wall immediately after his his unattended inauguration. ABC7 in Los Angeles reported:
Biden on Wednesday ordered a “pause” on all wall construction within a week, one of 17 executive orders issued on his first day in office, including six dealing with immigration.
The order leaves projects throughout the border unfinished – but still under contract – after Trump worked feverishly last year to build 450 miles (720 kilometers), a goal he said he achieved eight days before leaving office.
The Trump administration said it had identified $15 billion to reach a total of 738 miles (1,181 kilometers), but it is unclear how many of those additional miles are under contract and what cancellation fees Biden would face to fulfill his pledge to not build “another foot.” Biden ordered answers within two months on how much the government committed, how much it would cost to extricate itself and whether contracts could be repurposed for other uses.
This Biden action, although it’s not known if Biden even understands what he was doing, will be costly. CNN reported in December that it will cost the country to end building the border wall:
There are costs incurred before construction starts, such as planning costs, land acquisitions and manufacturing expenses and pre-positioning equipment. If contracts are terminated, there may also be the need to pay costs associated with clean up, demobilization and potentially restoration of land for safety and environmental reasons.
The government has a long standing authority to terminate contracts, but doing so comes at a cost, according to contracting experts. “The contractors will expect favorable settlements. The last thing the government wants is to have a long, dragged out, difficult negotiation with a contractor who says they’re blameless,” said Charles Tiefer, a government contracting law professor at the University of Baltimore.
Now the Washington Times reports that Biden’s Executive Order may be illegal:
President Biden’s directive pausing border wall construction is probably illegal, several experts told The Washington Times, saying he has the power to cancel Defense Department money that was being funneled toward the project, but he went too far by halting construction paid for by money Congress had specifically approved for the wall.
Mr. Biden’s order last week also put 5,000 people out of work, and will waste “billions” of dollars to pay off contractors for work that will no longer be done, said the man who oversaw construction for the Trump administration.
Mark Morgan, who was acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview that as of Jan. 20 they were still spending money Congress had approved three years ago on wall construction, and a president is required to carry that out.