Lawmakers tell Biden to rescind border wall contracts, military money for wall

Border Report

Construction workers build a border wall in Mission, Texas, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. President-elect Joe Biden will face immediate pressure to fulfill his pledge to stop border wall construction. But he will confront a series of tough choices left behind by President Donald Trump, who’s ramped up construction in his final weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

McAllen, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas Congressman has gotten several lawmakers to sign off on a letter asking President-elect Joe Biden to rescind border wall contracts and other aspects with the controversial 730-mile project started by the Trump administration, Border Report has learned.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, on Wednesday sent Biden a letter asking that the new administration rescind the national emergency declaration and reprogrammed funding; direct the Department of Justice to dismiss all condemnation suits; terminate for convenience all current and pending Army Corps of Engineer contracts; and rescind Homeland Security waiver authority relating to the construction of new border barriers.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas

“I’m sending a letter to the president-elect on the wall with very specific requests,” Cuellar told Border Report. “We must remedy the challenges border communities have faced over the last four years due to the Trump administration’s insistence on constructing a wasteful border wall.”

Cuellar along with 33 other lawmakers, including many from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, signed the letter and sent it on Wednesday. Among those supporting included U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro who is chairman of the Hispanic Caucus.

“We find urgency in our desire to remedy the challenges our communities have faced over the last four years due to the wasteful agenda of the previous administration. The ongoing public health and economic crises in our communities only serve to highlight these priorities in the 117th Congress. We, therefore, compel your Administration to act swiftly and look forward to working with you in support of these efforts,” the letter reads.

Cuellar said particularly concerning to border landowners has been Donald Trump’s stepped up rush to build more border wall before he leaves office. And that has resulted in a flurry of condemnation lawsuits and court actions in South Texas, where much of the border lands are privately owned.

Trump has promised to have 450 miles of new border wall completed by the end of the year. He completed the 400th mile and his top leaders celebrate in a ceremony held in McAllen, Texas, just five days before the presidential election during which time they touted the virtues and effectiveness of the border wall and surrounding cameras, lights and roadways in stopping illegal entries.

“We’re asking for him to tell the AG to stop all the condemnation lawsuits and tell the Army Corps to terminate all the contracts for construction of the wall,” Cuellar said.

Several homeowners, and even some public entities, have pushed back and denied the federal government entry onto properties that border the Rio Grande to survey for the border wall.

On Monday, the five-member county commissioners for rural Zapata County approved a resolution they are sending to Alejandro Mayorkas who Biden has tapped to head the Department of Homeland Security, telling him to stop all border wall construction and for the department to leave alone their 2-acre land tract called the San Ygnacio Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary.

Cuellar told Border Report it also is very important that the incoming administration also “rescind all the environmental waivers they’ve done on construction of the wall” to help restore the border environment.

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