President Joe Biden’s attempts to suspend or end border wall construction are costing taxpayers $3 million a day, with an estimated price tag of at least $1.8 billion, according to a new report authored by Senate Republicans.
Biden on the day he was sworn in ordered his administration to halt construction and review whether to resume it. The halt was supposed to be for 60 days. Over 180 days later, no indication has been given on the results of the review and whether construction will resume.
As the pause continues, Republicans discovered the suspension initially cost $6 million a day, an amount that was later reduced to $3 million a day after Department of Defense contractors carried out layoffs.
They cited records obtained from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, including estimates provided by the Pentagon in court filings.
“The Biden Administration is paying contractors at least $3 million per day to guard steel, concrete, and other materials in the desert. At the same time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered over 1.1 million migrants along the Southwest border this fiscal year—a 20 year high. This policy decision raises significant concerns about the Biden Administration’s immigration agenda and requires both Congressional oversight and legislative action,” the senators wrote in the newly released interim report.
The number of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border has skyrocketed since Biden took office and altered or reversed key Trump-era immigration policies, such as border wall construction.
“It is absolutely absurd that Americans are paying contractors to guard metal gates that President Biden refuses to install because he wants to ‘study’ the wall,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, in a statement. “Stubbornly refusing to spend money approved for the wall is not ‘executing’ the law. It’s ignoring the law and ignoring the very real national security concerns posed by illegal entry across our very open southern border.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senators who produced the report estimated the administration has spent between $618 and $708 million to the contractors between Jan. 20 and July 15, and will ultimately spend up to $1.2 billion more to exit the border wall projects.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration prioritized border wall construction, building 453 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Approximately 211 miles of fencing were under construction as of Jan. 8, just before Biden entered office.
Trump allocated roughly $16.4 billion to border wall construction and maintenance, with $10 billion coming from the Pentagon.
Some of the funded projects were canceled earlier this year. Others were canceled this month. Some are still being reviewed.