Lankford wants border wall finished – now

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), the lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, today introduced an amendment to the Homeland Procurement Reform Act, to restart and complete the work on the southern border wall that was halted by the Biden Administration.

“Congress already approved and the American people already paid for the construction of a southern border wall,” Lankford said. “But instead of completing the work on the wall and technology for our national security, taxpayers are paying Defense contractors as much as $2.1 billion to watch steel slats and gates bake on the ground so no one steals them while President Biden ignores the thousands of migrants illegally entering the US every month. That is wasted American taxpayer money.

“The cartels are smuggling humans and drugs across our southern border while the Biden Administration ‘studies’ border wall construction. There is an easy way to prevent people from stealing the border wall materials: install them. It is absurd to pay people to monitor steel beams at the border, rather than paying people to stop illegal crossings at the border.”

On January 20, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10142, which terminated the federally declared emergency at the southern border and halted the construction of the congressionally funded border wall, citing the need to “assess” the wall’s construction, an action Lankford immediately opposed.

Following the construction halt, the Biden Administration has placed DHS-funded contractors into stand-by mode as they apply National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews and other analyses to the border wall-related contracts, but they have not yet cancelled the contracts. The contractors are now paid to conduct “make-safe and site security” procedures at project sites as costs for these make-safe functions continue to accrue.

Lankford’s amendment offered today would:

·       Prevent the Secretary of Homeland Security and any other federal official from implementing Presidential Proclamation 10142 and terminate all regulations, policies, and operational guidance that have already been implemented by the proclamation;

·       Revert all border wall construction projects to the status they held on January 19, 2021, under the Trump Administration;

·       Prevent the imposition of any new environmental, agricultural, or other reviews mandated by statute or regulation on existing border wall contracts; and

·       Prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing any successor executive action on this subject.

After visiting the southern border as part of his oversight responsibilities, Lankfordcalled out the Biden Administration’s open border policies on the Senate floor and penned an op-ed in the Daily Caller about our now open borders. In May, Lankford condemned the Biden Administration’s efforts to secretly respond to the obvious ongoing emergency at the southern by recruiting a “volunteer force” of federal employees from NASA, Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Department of Agriculture to work at the border transferring migrants with very few training requirements. In June Lankford shared his frustration after the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review of the executive action to withhold funding for the completion of the wall system at the US southern border.

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