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U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The United States Department of Defense informed Tuesday that it will redirect US$3.6 billion from more than 120 U.S. military construction projects to help build or enhance 175 miles (282 km) of the border wall with Mexico.
Pentagon officials said 127 would be affected and the first US$1.8 billion would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. While the second half would come from deferred military projects inside the United States.
“Construction could begin as early as within 100 days on land owned by the Defense Department, such as the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona,” Elaine McCusker, the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Comptroller, said.
Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The “national emergency” on the southern border followed the rejection of Trump’s budget demand in 2019, which gave him broad and special executive powers, under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Especially those to divert federal money towards his campaign promise.
“My view of it is that stealing money from military construction, at home and abroad, will undermine our national security, quality of life and morale of our troops, and that indeed makes America less safe,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, according to an aide.
Trump has redirected US$601 million in Treasury Department forfeiture funds, US$2.5 billion in Defense Department drug interdiction funds and now US$3.6 billion from a military construction budget, for total spending of US$8.1 billion for the wall.
Construction continues on the border wall in Yuma, AZ. The process includes panel fabrication and delivery, demolition, soil conditioning and digging, trench digging, panel hoisting and installation. pic.twitter.com/00VvwipMte
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Tuesday it would ask for a court order preventing the Trump administration from reallocating military funds to use for border wall construction.
"We’ll be back in court very soon to block Trump’s latest effort to raid military funds for his xenophobic wall,” ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a statement.
This new “win” for Trump comes as the 2020 presidential race underway with Trump seeking re-election. As his “Build the wall” promise has morphed into the rallying campaign cry “Finish the wall”.
The wall funding project is based on a 2017 plan presented by Customs and Border Protection officials to build or replace 1,162 km (722 miles) of fence along the Mexican border, with a total estimated cost of about US$18 billion. At the moment only 179 km (111 miles) have been built or are underway.