President Joe Biden has created chaos in the southwest with his open-border policy, which he launched on his first day with an executive order terminating the construction of former President Donald Trump’s wall.
“Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution. It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security,” Biden wrote in the Day One executive order.
“It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”
The result, of course, has been record numbers of illegal immigrants flowing across the border – even as Biden tacitly acknowledges that walls work by not condemning the 7-foot, razor-wire-topped fencing Democrats erected around the U.S. Capitol.
But this week, 40 Republican senators, including Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, blamed Biden for the crisis, asserted that the president broke the law by unilaterally blocking the funding, and urged him to restore the construction money.
Since Biden issued that order, the senators wrote to the Government Accountability Office, “operational control of our southern border was compromised and a humanitarian and national security crisis has ensued. The President’s actions directly contributed to this unfortunate, yet entirely avoidable, scenario. They are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.”
The senators noted that Congress, in approving spending bills that slated $3 billion for the wall, “intentionally left little discretion to the executive branch over how it would execute the funding for border wall construction.”
The letter notes the Department of Homeland Security, under Trump, quickly built or repaired 112 miles of wall on the border. “Not coincidentally,” the letter states, “the rate of illegal border crossings fell substantially and operational control of the border increased dramatically.” As one example, illegal crossing near Yuma, Arizona, plunged 87 percent between 2019 and 2020.
Yet, as Biden’s “unlawful (funding) pauses have proceeded, the rate of illegal crossings has surged, creating a crisis across our southern border.” Meanwhile, billions of dollars “sit unused.”
Moreover, the GOP senators maintained that under federal law Biden must spend the money as appropriate, and accordingly, Biden possesses “no unilateral authority to withhold funds from obligation.”
“The president is not vested with the power to ignore or amend a duly enacted law. Instead, he must ‘faithfully execute’ the law as Congress enacts it.”
The senators then note that the GAO made the same argument with funding for military aid to Ukraine, which Democrats used as the basis to impeach Trump when he temporarily halted it in 2019.
“In consecutive fiscal years, Congress passed bills appropriating funds to DHS for construction of a border wall. The president signed those bills into law. … The president now in office is charged with faithfully executing these laws, notwithstanding any policy or political disagreements with his predecessor who signed them.”
Biden’s withholding of the funding for its stated purpose is “an unlawful impoundment and an assault on Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.”
“The president bemoans the border wall system funded by Congress as ‘not a serious policy solution’ and ‘a waste of money.’ It is his right to levy that criticism, and he is free to propose budgets that advance his alternative approach to securing our nation’s borders. But he cannot illegally impound funding provided by Congress in duly enacted appropriation laws,” they added.
Besides Rubio and Scott, the letter was signed by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), John Barrasso (Wy.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Steve Daines (Mont.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), John Kennedy (La.), James Lankford (Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (Wy.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mitt Romney (Utah), Mike Rounds (S.D.), John Thune (S.D.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), and Todd Young (Ind.).