WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and all Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in a call to the Department of Defense to halt the sale of border wall construction materials after reports that the Department was moving quickly to dispose of the parts before the provisions of Wicker’s FINISH It Act could be implemented.
“We are deeply disappointed to learn that rather than using construction materials that were purchased to secure the southwest border for that purpose, the Department of Defense has begun auctioning these materials off for other purposes,” the senators wrote. “These auctions represent a brazen attempt to circumvent the FINISH IT Act, which was included in both the House and Senate FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act.”
In addition to halting all further auctions of border wall materials and requesting detailed information on the current sales, the letter calls for the administration to direct the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa Dalton for her failure to provide Congress accurate and timely information about the use of these border wall construction materials.
The Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans pledge not to consent to a confirmation hearing for the nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy until the senators’ concerns are addressed.
Senator Tuberville was joined by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rick Scott (R-FL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
See the full letter text to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin here, or below.
Dear Secretary Austin:
We are deeply disappointed to learn that rather than using construction materials that were purchased to secure the southwest border for that purpose, the Department of Defense has begun auctioning these materials off for other purposes. These auctions represent a brazen attempt to circumvent the FINISH IT Act, which was included in both the House and Senate FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act. The FINISH IT Act requires the Department to use these construction materials to secure the southwest border as originally intended, or to transfer them to border states for that purpose.
While we gather more facts about the Department’s disposal, and apparent plans to dispose, of approximately $260 million worth of border wall construction materials, we demand that you take the following steps immediately:
1. Suspend all auctions of border wall construction materials, including those that have been scheduled for August 23 and 30, 2023, according to media reports; and
2. Direct the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa Dalton’s failure to provide Congress accurate and timely information about the Department’s plans regarding the use of these border wall construction materials, despite multiple inquiries about the border wall construction materials from both Senate Armed Services Committee members and staff.
Finally, no later than September 5, 2023, we expect you to provide:
1. A full account of the Department’s disposal of border wall construction materials thus far. For each sale of materials, the Department should include: the price that the U.S. Government originally paid to procure the materials, the price for which they were sold by the Department of Defense to a third party, the identity of the third-party purchaser of those materials, and the purchaser’s intended use of those materials.
2. A full account of the Department’s payments thus far to store the border wall materials, including the total amount that the Department has paid for storage, the precise locations where they were stored and/or are still being stored, and a full list of individuals and entities that received payment to store the materials.
Please be advised that Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans will not consent to a confirmation hearing for the nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy until this letter is answered appropriately.
Senator Tuberville is taking action in the United States Senate to secure our open southern border.
Senator Tuberville supports common-sense policies that strengthen our border and national security like building the wall and reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy. Senator Tuberville has spoken about his concerns on the floor of the U.S. Senate and called on the Biden administration to act.
During his two years in the United States Senate, Senator Tuberville has made multiple visits to the southern border and worked on many legislative initiatives to secure the border, including giving law enforcement the tools needed to keep our communities safe and reforming immigration law to crack down on abuse and discourage illegal immigration.
- In March 2023, Senator Tuberville introduced the Border Safety and Security Act to protect Americans by combatting the border crisis created by President Biden’s immigration policies.
- The legislation puts more responsibility on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and gives increased authority to state attorneys general in holding DHS accountable if the department fails in its duty to restrict entry and detain illegal immigrants.
- Also in March 2023, Senator Tuberville cosponsored the Stopping Border Surges Act to address loopholes in our immigration system that encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States.
- The legislation includes reforms that would reduce unsustainable surges of illegal immigrants, strengthen our asylum process, eliminate the incentive to send children to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of coyotes and cartels.
- In 2022, Senator Tuberville introduced, for the second year in a row, the Empowering Law Enforcement Act (ELEA) to help combat the Biden administration’s nullification of U.S. immigration laws.
- Also in 2022, Senator Tuberville joined congressional colleagues in introducing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to dissolve a Biden administration rule that would illegally upend the process by which the U.S. government grants asylum claims.
- The rule would exacerbate the crisis at the border and encourage fraudulent asylum claims by allowing illegal border crossers who claim asylum to have their asylum application approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials instead of immigration judges.
- The rule also allows illegal border crossers claiming asylum to live in the U.S. free from detention while their application is pending.
- In 2021, Senator Tuberville introduced his first piece of legislation as U.S. Senator, which required DHS to issue notices to appear to every single person paroled or released into the U.S., after media reported on the border becoming so overrun that Customs and Border Protection officers were forced to quickly release illegal immigrants into U.S. communities with no follow up for a date in immigration court.
Additional information about Senator Tuberville’s work to combat the Biden border crisis can be found below.
- TUBERVILLE OP-ED: Where is Biden’s Border Plan?
- TUBERVILLE OP-ED: Biden is Giving a Green Light Where There Should be a Stop Sign
- Tuberville Details the Dangers of Biden’s Border Crisis, Calls on Administration to Act
- Tuberville, Colleagues Raise Concern About Biden Administration Allowing Individuals Who Have Supported Terrorism to Immigrate to the U.S.
- Tuberville, Colleagues Introduce Resolution to Repeal Biden Administration Policy Upending Asylum Process
- Tuberville Torches HHS as Border Crisis Grows
- Tuberville, Tillis, Rounds Introduce the Empowering Law Enforcement Act
- Tuberville: The Biden Border Crisis is a Stain on Our Nation
- Tuberville on Border Security: President Biden Sending a ‘Come One, Come All’ Signal
- Tuberville Statement on Opposition to Alejandro Mayorkas
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.