Pentagon to cancel Trump border wall projects using US military funds

Funds will instead go towards deferred military construction projects

LA JOYA, TEXAS - APRIL 14: A portion of U.S.-Mexico border wall stands unfinished on April 14, 2021 near La Joya, Texas. President Joe Biden paused wall construction by executive order upon taking office in January, 2021. The administration has reportedly decided to possibly finish wall construction on gaps where the wall was largely completed.   John Moore/Getty Images/AFP

The Pentagon on Friday said it was cancelling the construction of parts of former president Donald Trump's wall on the border with Mexico that were being built using military funds, with all the unobligated money being returned to military.

Mr Trump declared a national emergency in 2019 in an effort to redirect funding to build a wall along the US southern border.

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on January 20, his first day in office, ordering a freeze on border wall projects and directing a review of the legality of its funding and contracting methods.

"The Department of Defence is proceeding with cancelling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account," Pentagon spokesman Jamal Brown said.

Mr Brown said the returned funds would be used for deferred military construction projects.

It was not immediately clear how much would be returned to the military, but it was likely to be several billion dollars.

Mr Trump's diversion of funds from the Pentagon had been heavily criticised by members of Congress, who said it put national security at risk and circumvented the legislative body.

In 2019 alone, the military said more than 120 US military construction projects would be adversely affected by Trump's move.

The Department of Homeland Security also announced on Friday that it would take steps to address "physical dangers resulting from the previous administration’s approach to border wall construction".

It said it would repair the Rio Grande Valley's flood barrier system, which it said the wall construction under the Trump administration had blown large holes into, as well as remediate soil erosion in San Diego along a wall segment.