The Pentagon has told Congress that it will build 11 sections of the southern border wall with $3.6 billion in funds allocated by Congress to other construction projects.
“On February 15, 2019, the President issued a proclamation declaring that a national emergency exists along the southern border of the United States,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wrote to Congress. He continued:
I have authorized and directed the Acting Secretary of the Army to undertake these 11 projects expeditiously, and, as authorized by Section 2808 [of the National Emergencies Act], to do so without regard to any other provision of law that may impede the expeditious construction of such projects in response to the national emergency. A description of and the estimated cost for each project, including the cost of any associated real estate actions, can be found in the enclosure.
The letter does not describe the planned projects or the miles of extra wall. The announcement implements President Donald Trump’s earlier order to move the funds following Congress’s 2019 refusal to fund his 2016 campaign promise.
Democrats protested the extra funding for the wall, which will help curb the trafficking of drugs and illegal migrants into American communities.
“It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that @realDonaldTrump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego, and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build,” said in a tweet from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
A statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office said:
The Administration’s irresponsible decision to transfer funds from appropriated U.S. military construction makes America less safe and dishonors the Constitution. The President is negating the Constitution’s most fundamental principle, the separation of powers, by assaulting our Congressional “power of the purse,” and is undermining the oath of office we take to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people.
Canceling military construction projects at home and abroad will undermine our national security and the quality of life and morale of our troops, making America less secure.
The President says that he is building the wall for national security reasons, but America should instead address the root causes of migration in the countries of origin. As our bipartisan Congressional delegation saw firsthand last month in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, we should be strengthening U.S. initiatives. Yet, the Administration has decided to move critical funding from effective and proven counternarcotics and stability and security initiatives to build an ineffective, wasteful wall. This senseless decision will only worsen the underlying causes of migration.
In July, Breitbart News reported:
Since President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, DHS has completed about 52 miles of border wall construction at the southern border — all of which replaces existing, dilapidated fencing like those known as “Normandy barriers” that are low to the ground, easy to climb over, and only designed to stop vehicles from crossing the border.
In its place is mostly 18 to 30-feet high steel bollard fencing that has been erected in areas like the Calexico, California region, DHS officials told Breitbart News. U.S. Border Patrol Agents told Breitbart News in exclusive interviews that the upgraded barriers are not only reducing illegal immigration in those sectors but making them safer as well.
In August, the Washington Post reported:
Trump has repeatedly promised to complete 500 miles of fencing by the time voters go to the polls in November 2020, stirring chants of “Finish the Wall!” at his political rallies as he pushes for tighter border controls. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed just about 60 miles of “replacement” barrier during the first 2½ years of Trump’s presidency, all of it in areas that previously had border infrastructure.
CBP and Pentagon officials insist they remain on track to complete about 450 miles of fencing by the election. Of that, about 110 miles will be added to areas where there is currently no barrier. The height of the structure will vary between 18 and 30 feet, high enough to inflict severe injury or death from a fall.
Several administration officials who confirmed the White House’s urgency said they expect to be able to deliver on Trump’s demands because the actual construction of the barriers is typically the last step in the process.
On average, the Trump administration has built less than two miles of border wall a month since January 2017. https://t.co/yEjVinVhlj
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) August 29, 2019