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Pentagon authorizes up to $1B for 57 miles of southern border fencing

A fence along the U.S Mexican border west of Nogales, Arizona, on March 16, 2018. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 26, 2019

The Pentagon has authorized up to $1 billion in funding for 57 miles of “pedestrian fencing” along the southern border with Mexico, it announced late Monday.

The funds, said to be coming from Army accounts, will help construct 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, as well as add other security measures in two Yuma sectors and one El Paso sector, which are considered drug corridors.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the money will go to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can begin planning.

This is reportedly the first time the Pentagon will transfer funds under section 284, which allows the Pentagon to “construct roads and fences and to install lighting to block drug-smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States in support of counter-narcotic activities of Federal law enforcement agencies,” Fox News pointed out.

The announcement comes not long after President Donald Trump vetoed Congress’ bill overturning his national emergency declaration on the border wall.

The House of Representatives is slated to hold another vote to overturn the veto today, but it is not expected to pass, thus the emergency declaration would stand.

Trump declared a national emergency this past February in order to fund an additional $6.5 billion for southern border security.

Trump is seeking $6.5 billion in addition to what Congress approved for border security, which is $1.375 billion. That brings the total to roughly $8 billion for more than 200 miles of steel border barriers. Congress’ funding provided for about 55 miles of barriers.

The funds are to be redirected from the Pentagon and U.S. Treasury.

Trump had said he would declare a national emergency to build the border wall if Congress didn’t provide the funds for it. He has also said the U.S. “will build a Human Wall if necessary” at the southern border with Mexico.

Lawmaker’s $1.375 billion comprise averted a second government shutdown this year, but Trump declared he was “extremely unhappy” with the proposal.

Trump had originally wanted nearly $6 billion for border security that would include a wall, or steel slats.

The government was partially shut down for 36 days – the longest stint in history – late last year into January of this year over partisan disagreements on borer wall funding. Trump eventually signed a temporary 3-week funding measure.