In a move that has drawn criticism from conservative lawmakers, the Biden administration has been quietly auctioning off unused parts of former President Trump’s border wall through GovPlanet, an online auction house specializing in military surplus. Since April, the auction house has managed to sell 81 lots of steel “square structural tubes,” originally intended for use as vertical bollards in the border barrier’s 30-foot-tall panels, amassing around $2 million in revenue.
The auction activity surged in May, coinciding with the introduction of the “Finish It Act” by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss), aimed at pushing President Biden to address the ongoing migrant crisis along the US-Mexico border by extending the border wall. The Senate, led by Democrats, passed a defense appropriations bill that included this Republican-sponsored provision. The bill mandates the use of up to $300 million worth of taxpayer-funded wall components for new wall construction or their allocation to states like Texas for their own border defense initiatives.
The Biden administration’s decision to auction off the unused wall materials has raised eyebrows among critics who view it as an attempt to avoid the potential enactment of the Finish It Act. The bill’s sponsors and other conservative voices have decried the administration’s move as “wasteful and ludicrous,” claiming that it demonstrates a lack of commitment to border security. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) described the situation as “Bidenomics in a nutshell,” arguing that the revenue generated from selling the wall components pales in comparison to the potential costs incurred from criminal acts by those who cross the open borders.
Despite the ongoing sales, the administration appears to have maintained discretion about the origins of the materials. GovPlanet sources revealed that they have been instructed not to explicitly mention the connection to the border wall materials to avoid potential backlash.
Critics argue that the administration’s decision to auction the materials, rather than utilizing them for border security, undermines national security efforts and wastes taxpayer dollars. The ongoing influx of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border continues to be a major concern, with over 2.6 million asylum seekers and “gotaways” reportedly entering the United States during President Biden’s tenure. This has led to strained resources and budgets in various cities, including New York, as migrants seek shelter, meals, and social services.