On Friday, the Biden administration announced plans to redirect $2.2 billion in funds previously set aside for border wall construction to pay for dozens of Defense Department projects.
The announcement comes nearly five months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for border wall construction to halt.
The Pentagon said the money would go toward 66 military projects in 11 states, three territories, and 16 countries.
Among them is a $79 million project to overhaul an elementary school in Germany for U.S. military children, a $25 million radio battalion project in North Carolina, a $25 million upgrade to equipment and personnel at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, and $10 million for a missile field expansion at Fort Greely in Alaska.
While Biden pledged as a candidate to build “not another foot” of wall on the border, the administration said Friday that funds approved by Congress for “border barrier projects” this year would be spent by the administration until lawmakers cancel or reroute the spending.
“Although most of the funds used for the border wall were diverted from other purposes, Congress provided DHS with some funding for border barrier projects. DHS is legally required to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose,” the administration said.
Former President Donald Trump made the construction of the border wall a priority of his presidential campaign and four years in office. He declared the emergency in February 2019 in order to divert $600 million from the Treasury Department and $6.1 billion from the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security for border wall construction.
Overall, the Trump administration built approximately 450 miles of the wall — most of which was the reinforcement or replacement of existing barriers — along the 1,954-mile southern border.