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Pentagon approves diversion of military construction funds for border wall

  1. Date Announced

    Sept. 3, 2019

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper agrees to divert $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects to instead fund President Trump's border wall. Half of the $3.6 billion was for construction projects in the United States, and the other half for projects in foreign countries. [ID #427]

    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
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  3. Subsequent Action

    January 14, 2020

    President Trump plans to divert an additional $7.2 billion in military funding for the construction of a wall on the southern border, according to two people familiar with the plans, as officials rush to show major progress on his signature campaign promise in time for the 2020 election. The money would be stripped from Defense Department construction and counterdrug projects, the officials said, and amounts to even more than the billions the administration transferred from the Pentagon last year to pay for Mr. Trump’s border wall.

    NY Times: Trump Plans to Divert Additional $7.2 Billion From Military to Wall
  4. Subsequent Action

    July 31, 2020

    By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court declined to lift a stay that prohibited the federal government from spending certain federal funds on construction while a legal challenge to the wall continues. On Oct. 19, 2020 the Supreme Court grants cert in Sierra Club v. Trump and California v. Trump cases. See SCOTUS Docket No. 20-138. On Feb. 3, 2021, SCOTUS cancelled the upcoming oral argument in a brief order responding to the new administration's request for time to assess "the legality of the funding and contracting methods used to construct the wall."

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Supreme Court allows border-wall construction to continue
  5. Subsequent Action

    October 9, 2020

    Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that Section 2808 did not authorize the challenged border wall construction projects.

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Sierra Club v. Trump, No. 19-17501 (9th Cir., Oct. 9, 2020).
  6. Subsequent Action

    December 4, 2020

    In parallel litigation in Texas, the District Court preliminarily enjoined the diversion of military funds to border wall construction. However, a split Fifth Circuit reversed the injunction on appeal, and dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction, saying that the plaintiffs lacked standing. According to the majority, neither El Paso County, nor the organization Border Network for Human Rights, had standing to bring the challenge. El Paso County, Texas et al. v. Trump et al., 19-cv-51144, (5th Cir., Dec. 4, 2020).

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    El Paso County v. Trump
  7. Subsequent Action

    The Trump administration has notified Congress that it plans to divert $3.8 billion from the Defense Department's budget to build the border wall. The move drew bipartisan criticism, including from the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry.

    Trump Administration Diverts $3.8 Billion In Pentagon Funding To Border Wall
  8. Biden Administration Action

    January 20, 2021

    This Biden administration policy revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation terminating the declared emergency with respect to the Southern border. This proclamation also indicates that a review will determine how to redirect funds diverted for wall construction.

    2021.01.20 Proclamation 10142
  9. Biden Administration Action

    June 11, 2021

    This Biden administration action explains how funds will be redirected in light of the termination of border wall construction.

    DHS released a plan for funds the Trump administration planned to use for construction of a border wall. The plan outlines steps DHS will take to end wall expansion to the extent permitted by law and address life, safety, and environmental concerns.  

    The prior administration planned to spend over $15 billion on wall construction, and diverted over $10 billion of those funds from military projects and other sources. The Department of Defense is terminating all border wall projects using the diverted funds, and returning the remaining, unobligated funds to their original sources.

    2021.06.11 DHS Releases Plan for Use of Border Barrier Funds
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Border
Agencies Affected: CBP DOD

Prior Policies

Subsequent Actions

Biden Administration Actions

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