The Trump administration hasn’t just been dynamiting pristine mountains in the borderlands even though it has no time to complete fencing in that area before Inauguration Day. CNN reports that the administration is still finalizing and awarding federal contracts even as the impeached president has just days left in office.
President-elect Joe Biden has committed to ending construction, and we’ve discussed numerous times how he can cancel existing contracts. So why the new agreements? In a shocking moment of honesty, Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan basically admitted it’s to trip him up. “They could terminate those contracts if they want to, but that's going to be a very lengthy, messy process," he told CNN.
CNN reported that not only is the administration continuing to hand out federal contracts to build border fencing that Mexico never did pay for, but that it’s finalizing it in lands that are still privately owned. CNN calls it “an unusual move.” I’ll call it, “What a bunch of assholes.” But in other areas, the government has rushed to seize private land even though there’s no time to complete fencing. “We're still seeing filings,” Texas Civil Rights Project attorney Roberto Lopez told NPR late last year.
The Washington Post has previously reported that Biden immediately ending construction as president will save the U.S. billions of dollars, though hundreds of millions could have to be paid out to contractors in order to terminate agreements. CNN reports Morgan made further remarks confirming it’s to drag out the process and keep driving up those sort of fees.
If President Biden cancels federal agreements, “’[w]e're going to have to go into settlement agreements with each individual contractor,’ Morgan added, noting, that payments will have to be made for what they've already done, as well as for materials produced,” the report continued. “He estimated the process could cost billions.”
If that’s what it takes to begin to reverse this disaster, so be it. Republicans also forced nearly $1.4 billion for border fencing into the must-pass spending bill recently signed into law by the impeached president, but House Democrats said wording in the legislation allows Biden to redirect those funds. “Biden will be able to cancel those contracts with little loss of funding since the contracts will have been signed so recently,” House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chair Lucille Roybal-Allard wrote in a memo according to Border Report, “and the federal government has wide discretion to cancel contracts for convenience.”
Border Report said that Biden has several options for the money, including returning to Congress and asking legislators to “rescind and re-appropriate the remaining funds for another purpose at U.S. Customs and Border Protection or other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.” But the out-of-control CBP should be getting less money, not more. There has to be better uses for it. Stop wall construction, cancel the contracts, and tear the motherfucker down.