Most Republican senators signed onto a letter to the Government Accountability Office accusing Joe Biden of ‘unlawful’ acts in stopping construction of Donald Trump‘s southern border wall on Day One of his presidency.
‘[I]n one of the first official acts of his presidency, Joseph Biden suspended border wall construction and ordered a freeze of funds provided by Congress for that purpose,’ the 40 senators wrote. ‘In the weeks that followed, operational control of our southern border was compromised and a humanitarian and national security crisis has ensued.’
The group, led by Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, claims the president can not provide a sweeping action to freeze funds that were already appropriated for construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In the letter, they also allege that Biden signing the executive order stopping construction on January 20 is to blame for recent massive influx in immigration at the southern border and the ensuing overcrowding crisis, which they claim was ‘entirely avoidable.’
‘The President’s actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario,’ they wrote. ‘They are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.’
Forty Republican senators sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office Wednesday claiming Joe Biden freezing border wall construction is ‘unlawful’ because funds were already appropriated for that project
The group’s effort is being led by Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Shelley Moore Capito (left) and Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (right)
Biden’s administration is struggling to deal with the growing crisis as hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants are arriving at the southern border
Notably, the Republican lawmakers referenced in their letter a possible parallel with the GAO calling foul for Donald Trump, during his time as president, deciding to halt military aid to Ukraine without first getting consent from the Hill.
They claim that Biden is doing the same thing now by misdirecting funds away from the wall.
‘We believe they violated the Impoundment Control Act (ICA), as interpreted by your office, and we request your legal opinion on the matter. Prompt action to end these violations is required to restore order at the border,’ the senators wrote of the administration to the GAO.
Only 10 of the 50 sitting Republican U.S. senators did not sign the letter. Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby of Alabama was one of those who signed on.
In a statement announcing the letter, Shelby said they aimed to bring attention to ‘President Joe Biden’s suspension of border wall funding and construction without lawful justification, as required by the Impoundment Control Act.’
During Biden’s campaign, he made it clear that under his presidency he would accept all asylum seekers to the U.S. – a severe left turn from Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.
Since taking office, Biden’s administration has faced a growing crisis at the southern border where holding and detention facilities for illegal crossers has reached over 700 per cent capacity.
The White House, however, has continued to refuse to call the situation a ‘crisis,’ instead labeling it a ‘big problem.’
During his second-ever interview as president with ABC News, which aired Wednesday morning, Biden finally told immigrants to stop migrating to the southern border.
‘I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over,’ Biden said to ABC host George Stephanopoulos during a pre-recorded interview in Darby, Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
‘Don’t leave your town or city or community,’ he pounded home the message.
During an interview that aired Wednesday morning, Biden told ABC News migrants shouldn’t come to the U.S. ‘I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over. Don’t leave your town or city or community’
Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that the U.S. is on track to see the highest number of arrivals across the southern border in 20 years.
‘Currently, CBP is overwhelmed and overcapacity,’ Shelby wrote in his letter on the immigration crisis.
‘Reports indicate that nearly all border patrol sectors are above 100 percent capacity, with some sectors double, triple, or even at significantly higher levels of overcapacity,’ he continued
‘Since President Biden’s election in November 2020, CBP [Customs and Border Protection] numbers have increased significantly,’ Shelby penned in his statement Wednesday, detailing’ ‘In February 2021, CBP had 100,441 border encounters, amounting to a 39 percent increase from 71,946 encounters in October 2020 and a 173 percent increase from the 36,687 encounters in February 2020 – just one year prior. Additionally, there have been 325,012 border encounters since November 2020, while there were only 220,563 in the four months prior – a 68 percent increase.’
Just days before ending his term, Trump visited his southern border wall to celebrate 400 miles of new construction under his administration – which was built with funds from Pentagon budget
He also praised Trump’s work securing the southern border, including construction of his promised wall.
‘Due to efforts by the Trump administration to secure the southern border with new infrastructure, illegal crossings in the Yuma Sector decreased by 87 percent from Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) to FY20 in areas with new border wall system,’ Shelby lauded.
He also listed improvements under Trump in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.
On one of his last days in office, Trump went to the border to tour part of the wall and celebrate more than 400 miles of new border constructed during his four years in office.
In an executive order on Day One of his presidency, Biden ordered a halted construction despite millions already appropriated from Department of Defense funds for the wall.