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Roll Call: Biden administration offers plan for unused border wall funds

By Curt Anderson
June 15, 2021 9:46 pm
Category: Government
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Money would be used for border technology, cleanup of wall sites, schools for military personnel and more

(Roll Call) A report issued by the Office of Management and Budget sharply criticized former President Donald Trump, saying his administration “built 52 miles of wall where no barrier previously existed, with some wall segments costing American taxpayers up to $46 million per mile.”

The report said the effort “diverted critical resources away from military training facilities and schools, and caused serious risks to life, safety and the environment.”

Friday's report reiterates that the Biden White House request of Congress in order for that money to instead be directed to "modern, effective border management measures to improve safety and security." The report highlights $1.2 billion in the budget request for border infrastructure, including security technology, modernizing land ports of entry and "efforts to ensure the safe and humane treatment" of migrants in Customs and Border Protection custody.

The report also points to an $861 million request for aid to Central America to try and stem the tide of migrant border-crossings, and the administration has also requested $891 million for immigration judges and $345 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services "to reduce asylum backlogs and modernize systems."
(For more information on this story, see Roll Call: The source for news on Capitol Hill since 1955. Link below)

During the Trump administration, some 5,500 migrant families were separated along the U.S. southern border. Once it became clear how unpopular that policy was, some officials denied it was a policy at all. But when it began, administration officials said on the record, including on NPR, that they were separating families in order to deter more people from coming. A new administration has been undoing that policy.

One week ago, NPR reported that "the Biden administration's efforts to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border during the Trump administration, a total of three dozen families have been cleared to be reunified in the United States."

The Biden administration's Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families released an initial progress report announcing that 29 families have been cleared for reunification in the coming weeks, in addition to seven families reunited earlier.
(More information at NPR links below)

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