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Wicker, Hyde-Smith join in letter claiming Biden border wall proclamation illegal

By Anthony Warren

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLBT) - Mississippi Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith have joined 40 other lawmakers in opposing the Biden’s administration halting border wall construction.

On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden signed an executive order redirecting border wall funding, saying that building a “massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.”

In a March 17 letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Wicker and other Republican lawmakers say that doing so has “compromised” security and has led to a “humanitarian and national security crisis.”

They also argue that by redirecting funding allocated for the wall, the administration violated the Constitution and the Impoundment Control Act as interpreted by Dodaro’s office.

“The Constitution specifically vests Congress with the power of the purse,” the letter reads. “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.”

In 2018 and 2019, Congress provided funds for the construction of pedestrian fencing along the border. That funding has gone to build, repair or rebuild 112 miles of structure.

“Prompt action to end these violations is required to restore order at the border,” the letter reads.

The border wall between the U.S. and Mexico was a major cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Exactly how much was built has been called into question.

NBC News reported that the Trump administration built 47 miles of barriers, increasing the total miles of border fence to 701.

The letter to Dodaro states that the Department of Homeland Security used appropriations to build or replace 112 miles of border barriers through the end of 2020.

Since the work stoppage, Republican lawmakers say illegal border crossings have skyrocketed, “creating a crisis across our southern border, at times with tragic consequences,” the letter states. “Meanwhile, billions in lawfully appropriated dollars, which were provided by Congress to address precisely this issue, sit unused by the Biden Administration.”

On March 4, Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) also called out the Biden administration for “refusing to admit there is a humanitarian crisis on our southern border.”

He cited two fatal crashes that occurred in California after vehicles carrying migrants entered the southern border through a gap in the border fence.

In one case, 13 people were killed and a dozen more were injured when their overloaded Ford Expedition was hit by a gravel truck. Ten of those killed were Mexican nationals, the Mexican Consulate said in a statement, NBC News reported.