Then-President Trump had redirected billions in defense and military development budget toward building the wall, using his authority after Congress declined to completely fund the project directly.
"Consistent with the President’s Proclamation terminating the redirection of funds for the border wall, no more money will be diverted from other purposes to building a border wall," a Biden administration official said Friday. "Today, the Department of Defense will begin cancelling all wall projects using the diverted funds, and will take steps to return remaining unobligated military construction funds to their appropriated purpose as permitted by law."
A Defense Department spokesperson said the reserves would be delivered to accounts designated for "schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account," but added that the department was examining projects to manage priorities.
Upon entering office, Biden dropped the state of emergency. Trump had advanced along the southern border and halted production on the wall to conduct a review, though the 60 day period for the review's completion has long passed.
Republicans in Congress have attacked Biden for illegally stopping congressionally approved funds, and the Government Accountability Office is making a report on whether the stop was legal under the Impoundment Control Act.
Sen. James Risch (Idaho), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, said the progress would be a blow to national security. "This is an ill-advised decision at best," Risch tweeted.
The administration said Friday it would use some of the $1.4 billion allocated for building the wall toward fixing environmental damage from its creation, such as surge barriers in the Rio Grande Valley and soil erosion in San Diego.
Democrats, on the other hand, embraced the move.
“President Biden promised to not build one more foot of the border wall under his watch, and I welcome this step by his Administration to begin repairing the damage caused by border wall construction," said Rep. Raul Girjalva (D-Az.), who represents a border district.
"The border wall has done nothing but militarize border communities, destroy precious environmental habitats, and desecrate Native American sacred sites. After such abuses of power, cancelling the contracts and repairing the environmental damage is the least we can do."
The issue of financing the wall, one of the most symbolic methods of the Trump era, was a regular flashpoint between Democrats and Republicans over the past four years.
Trump would constantly request north of $5 billion a year for the wall, much to the chagrin of Democrats.
To pass spending bills, which require 60 votes in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans typically settled on a significantly lower figure, replete with caveats over what could be built or reinforced with the funds.