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A portion of U.S.-Mexico border wall stands unfinished on near La Joya, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration is returning more than $2 billion redirected from Department of Defense projects for Trump's border wall, and is again calling on Congress to cancel other remaining border wall funds.

Why it matters: Biden had promised not to build "another foot" of President Trump's infamous border wall if elected. One of his first executive actions paused construction of the wall, and called for a plan for the funds in 60 days — a deadline that passed in March.

  • "Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars is not a serious policy solution or responsible use of Federal funds," according to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) release.

What's happening: DOD has already started ending border wall projects that used diverted funds, and the administration said they are ending the expansion of the wall whenever legally possible.

  • Funds will be returned to sixty-six different Defense projects, including for military housing, on-base schools and training facilities.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also reviewing land acquired in past year by eminent domain actions for the border wall. If the land is needed, it will engage with landowners and if not, the agency "will work to return the land to its prior owners."

Yes, but: The administration is legally required to use an estimated $1.9 billion in funds on border barriers, as they were specifically directed to be used by Congress.

  • It's why the administration is "reiterating its call for Congress to cancel funds it previously appropriated for border barrier projects so that these resources can instead be used for modern, effective border management measures to improve safety and security."

With those funds, DHS will prioritize "urgent life, safety, and environmental issues resulting from the previous Administration’s wall construction" as well as for clean-up of DOD-funded construction sites, according to OMB.

  • The administration announced earlier this year that they would resume construction on an important flood wall in the Rio Grande Valley area of South Texas, as well as address dangerous issues with soil erosion along a 14-mile segment of border wall in San Diego, California.

By the numbers: The Trump administration built 52 miles of new slatted structures where there had been no previous barrier, in addition to hundreds of miles of replacement fencing. Some segments cost as much as $46 million per mile, according to the OMB release.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.

Updated 24 mins ago - Economy & Business

Student debt getting in the way of millennial homeownership

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millennial homeownership is on the rise — but student loan debt is still keeping millions of members of America's largest generation from owning a home.

Why it matters: Buying a house remains the No. 1 way to build wealth in the U.S.

Updated 24 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.