Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Take Down Donald Trump's Border Wall

Fact Check

  • by: Olivera Perkins
Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Take Down Donald Trump's Border Wall Not Demolished

Has President Joe Biden taken down the southern border wall that former President Donald Trump built? No, that's not true: On Biden's first day in office, January 20, 2021, he ordered a "pause in construction and obligation of funds" relating to the expansion of the border wall Trump had decreed. Biden's order says nothing about tearing down the part of the wall between the United States and Mexico built during the Trump administration. In fact, Biden's order gives the option of resuming wall projects.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published March 28, 2021. The post contains a meme with a photo of a man pressing his index finger and thumb together to form a circle. The text of the meme states:

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT....

A GUY BUILDS A WALL TO

KEEP EVERYONE OUT....

THEN ANOTHER GUY COMES ALONG AND

TAKES IT DOWN, THEN, BLAMES THE FIRST

GUY BECAUSE EVERYONE IS COMING IN...

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Mar 30 20:04:01 2021 UTC)

The Facebook meme mentions neither Biden nor Trump but given the context, the implication is clear. "Build That Wall" was a rallying cry during Trump's 2016 campaign and the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico remained a constant topic during his presidency. Biden has consistently opposed Trump's wall plan. The person posting the meme on Facebook didn't include comment with the post. (A reverse image search of the meme photo shows that it is most often used in memes with the themes of "zero" or "big, fat goose egg.") However, many of the commenters on the post saw the meme as offering opinion on Biden's and Trump's opposing viewpoints on the border wall. For example, one commenter on the Facebook post wrote:

That is the NEW DEMOCRATIC way do destruction and then blame it on the GOOD GUYS

Biden's order undoes Trump's February 15, 2019, proclamation declaring a national emergency at the southern border. Trump's order stated in part:

The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. In particular, recent years have seen sharp increases in the number of family units entering and seeking entry to the United States and an inability to provide detention space for many of these aliens while their removal proceedings are pending. If not detained, such aliens are often released into the country and are often difficult to remove from the United States because they fail to appear for hearings, do not comply with orders of removal, or are otherwise difficult to locate.

Biden's order specifically addresses Trump's proclamation. The Biden order states:

My Administration is committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our Nation's values. In furtherance of that commitment, I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border in Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States), was unwarranted. It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall. I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.

Biden's order calls for the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security and other federal officials to "develop a plan for the redirection of funds concerning the southern border wall."

The plan shall be developed within 60 days from the date of this proclamation. After the plan is developed, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all appropriate steps to resume, modify, or terminate projects and to otherwise implement the plan.

A January 22, 2021, Associated Press article said "billions of dollars of work" remain unfinished on the wall, but is still under contract. The AP article gave other details about wall projects:

As of Jan. 15, the government spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in work it signed contracts to have done, according to a Senate Democratic aide with knowledge of the contracts who spoke on condition of anonymity because details have not been made public. The full amount under contract would have extended Trump's wall to 664 miles (1,069 kilometers).

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  Olivera Perkins

Olivera Perkins is a veteran journalist and fact checker at Lead Stories, who has covered a variety of beats, including labor, employment and workforce issues for several years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Olivera has received state and national awards for her coverage, including those from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Read more about or contact Olivera Perkins

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