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Pentagon awards almost $1B in contracts for border wall replacement

Repair work begins on a 2 1/4 mile section of Border Fence in El Centro Sector near the Calexico West Port of Entry in Feb. 2018.. (Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The Defense Department has awarded $976 million to two companies to help fix the wall along the southern border.

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $789 million contract to the Texas-based SLSCO Ltd. for “border replacement wall construction” in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which covers the El Paso sector, according to an announcement Tuesday.

A $187 million contract went to the Montana-based Barnard Construction Company for “primary pedestrian wall replacement” in Yuma, Arizona.

Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, told CNN that the El Paso sector contract will include a“30-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate,” and the Yuma portion a “18-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate.”

The contracts represent the first major funding to President Trump’s border wall, though still not as he promised. After House Democrats refused to pass a budget that would include funding for the wall, Trump declared a national emergency and shifted $1 billion from counter-narcotics programs. Such a transfer does not require congressional approval, but has typically been given under a joint understanding.

Both projects are expected to be completed by Oct. 1, 2020, according to the DOD.

The announcement comes amid a massive upheaval in the Department of Homeland Security, as Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned Sunday and Claire Grady, the second in command and rightful successor, stepped down Tuesday.

Trump has already tapped Customs and Border Patrol Director Kevin McAleenan to temporarily take over for Nielsen.

The president has reportedly been fuming in private over the increase of immigrants at the border and last week pulled his nominee to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in order to go in a “tougher direction.”


© 2019 New York Daily News

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