Biden halts border wall building after Trump's final surge
SAN DIEGO (AP) — In the days before Joe Biden became president, construction crews worked quickly to finish Donald Trump’s wall at an iconic cross-border park overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which then-first lady Pat Nixon inaugurated in 1971 as symbol of international friendship.
Biden on Wednesday ordered a “pause” on all wall construction within a week, one of 17 executive orders issued on his first day in office, including six dealing with immigration.
The order leaves projects throughout the border unfinished — but still under contract — after Trump worked feverishly last year to build 450 miles (720 kilometers), a goal he said he achieved eight days before leaving office.
The Trump administration said it had identified $15 billion to reach a total of 738 miles (1,181 kilometers), but it is unclear how many of those additional miles are under contract and what cancellation fees Biden would face to fulfill his pledge to not build “another foot.” Biden ordered answers within two months on how much the government committed, how much it would cost to extricate itself and whether contracts could be repurposed for other uses.
The White House had no immediate comment Thursday, but given the lack of communication between Trump aides and Biden's transition team, quick answers may prove elusive.
“It is remarkably opaque,” said Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who's scheduled to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court next month that it was illegal for Trump to divert billions of dollars from the Defense Department to build the wall.
John Kurc, an activist who posts videos of dynamite blasts by wall construction crews, said he saw one dynamite charge being set Wednesday afternoon in Guadalupe Canyon in easternmost Arizona, even as the inauguration was playing out in...