Trump looks to move more billions from Pentagon to build more wall

Pentagon gets request to build roughly 435km of border wall

The Pentagon has received a request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to divert funds to help build roughly 270 miles of fencing on the southern U.S. border with Mexico, according to a senior U.S. Defense Department official.

The request comes amid sharp divisions about the border wall between President Donald Trump and members of Congress who have opposed the use of military funding for the construction. If approved - and if the $7.2 billion figure is accurate - it would bring the total amount of federal funds allocated to the border wall under Trump to $18.2 billion, as reported by The Washington Post. In his 2016 campaign, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall.

The reprogramming of money from various military accounts into the counter-drug account to fund the border wall proved controversial among many lawmakers on Capitol Hill who threatened to strip the Pentagon of its ability to move money in the future. Some of the sectors are reportedly in highly trafficked urban areas where existing walls or fences are "dilapidated", according to the officials. And they said the Pentagon's two-week review will assess if the request meets legal requirements and seeks feasible construction.

The military's Joint Staff would also provide an assessment to determine any impact the project might have on military readiness, presumably because of the diversion of funds.

It's not clear when the Senate will attempt to vote on the new wall-funding plan, especially with the upper chamber expected to be consumed with the impeachment trial for weeks.

"Last year the administration robbed billions from military construction projects - originally requested by the Department of Defense - that would have supported military readiness, quality of life, and deterrence of national security threats overseas".

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Mr. Trump, after forcing the longest government shutdown in history, declared a border emergency in early 2019 and siphoned almost $7 billion away from the Pentagon and toward wall construction.

The DHS request did not include a monetary request, though estimates are around $7.2 billion, which will come mostly from counter-narcotic funds.

Mexican migrants have become a high priority for the Trump administration as a report last month shows that the number of Mexican nationals seeking asylum in the us has risen dramatically over the a year ago, despite Central American migration numbers dropping as a result of Trump's policies.

In coordination with the Mexican government, the administration has expanded its "Remain in Mexico" policy to keep asylum seekers from being released into the US before a decision on their case.

"Sometimes when we get these areas, they're not constructible or it's hard to do that at certain points", the official said.

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