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Pentagon diverts $3.6bn in funds for US-Mexico border wall

WASHINGTON DC, USA: United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper has granted $3.6bn in Pentagon funding to help build a US-Mexico border wall.

This allocation will fund 175 miles of construction while putting on hold 127 military projects, the letter to legislators read.

Pentagon has stated that the affected projects have not been cancelled but have been “deferred”.

For the projects to be resumed, US Congress must agree to do so in its annual defence policy bill, failing to do so will put these in legislative limbo and effectively defunded.

Almost $1.8 billion are being shifted away from projects in 23 states and three US territories.

Pentagon will also defer over $1.8 billion in overseas military construction projects to free up more than $3.6 billion in funds for 11 wall projects on the southern border with Mexico.

In total, 127 domestic and overseas projects are being put on hold to help fund the wall that Trump initially promised would be paid for by Mexico.

In contrast, US taxpayer money is being redirected to facilitate the construction.

President Trump had promised the construction of a border wall with Mexico during his presidential election campaign.

The idea has received severe backlash from some legislators and activists, who argue that Trump had promised to coerce Mexico to fund the wall.

Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee expressed their concern in a joint statement after learning military construction allocation for projects at Hill Air Force Base would be diverted by Pentagon.

Virginia’s Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner told the media on Wednesday that the Pentagon informed them of military construction projects in their state to lose more than $77 million to ensure building the promised border wall.

The US-Mexico border is 1,954 miles long and crosses vast deserts and mountains in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. About 654 miles of it has some sort of man-made barrier, such as fencing or a wall which was mostly built after 2006.