WASHINGTON – The United States government announced on Tuesday the diversion of another $3.6 billion from the Pentagon budget for the construction of the border wall with Mexico.
These funds, initially approved by Congress for the construction of 127 Pentagon military projects, are part of the $6.6 billion President Donald Trump diverted for the wall under a national emergency that he declared on the southern border in February.
Although the Pentagon was yet to provide details about projects that would lose their funding, around half of them were allocated to US territory and the other half to overseas projects.
Pentagon officials said on Tuesday that the $3.6 billion would be used to finance 11 sections of new construction or renovation of the border wall, all of which add up to about 280 kilometers (174 miles).
A Pentagon spokesperson said that these funds would be used to add new capabilities and prevent illegal entry of migrants.
In February, Congress approved $1.37 billion for the wall in its budget, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought, prompting him to declare a national emergency with the aim of securing the required funds without the approval of the legislature.
With the national emergency, the government diverted some $6.6 billion from the Pentagon and the Treasury Department for building the wall – Trump’s election promise – which, with the amount approved by Congress, was to be used for the construction of some 376km of the wall.
A few months ago, the government authorized the diversion $2.5 billion from the Pentagon, initially allocated for the fight against drug trafficking, after the national emergency.
Although the decision faced a legal dispute, the Supreme Court eventually gave its approval in July allowing the government to make use of these funds for the wall.