Biden decree ends ‘emergency’ that Trump used to build wall

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE - This March 2, 2019 photo shows a Customs and Border Control agent patrols on the US side of a razor-wire-covered border wall along the Mexico east of Nogales, Ariz. President Joe Biden rushed to send the most ambitiousoverhaul of the nation's immigration system in a generationto Congress and signednine executive actionsto wipe out some of his predecessor's toughest measures to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border. But a federal court in Texas suspended his 100-day moratorium on deportations. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel,File)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has officially ended the “national emergency” that President Donald Trump declared in order to take money from the Pentagon to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The White House released a letter Thursday from Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi notifying Congress that he had rescinded his predecessor’s February 2019 proclamation.

It was a formality since Biden ordered a halt to border wall construction shortly after he took office.

In his letter, the president said Trump's declaration of a national emergency had been “unwarranted” and that he had directed that “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.” He also ordered a review of all money spent on the project so far.

The U.S. has been building border walls for decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Trump made the effort a centerpiece of his first presidential campaign, vowing to build a wall across the entire border and have Mexico pay for it.

Trump took roughly $6 billion from military funds under the national emergency he declared after Congress refused his demands for wall funding, leading to the longest government shutdown in history.

The Supreme Court upheld a legal challenge to Trump's action in a 5-4 vote in July 2019.

By the end of his administration, the U.S. had completed more than 450 miles (720 kilometers) of new wall construction along the 2,000-mile (3,145 kilometer) border. Much of the construction was in areas where there had already been some form of barrier.