This week the Pentagon has received a request for funds from the Department of Homeland Security to finance the construction of about 270 miles (435 kilometers) of wall on the Mexican border this year, according to Defense sources. The idea is to contemplate this project within the plans to fight drug trafficking, they added.
The request arrived at the Pentagon on Wednesday. Now the Department of Defense will carry out an evaluation of the petition for two weeks to determine what will be approved of it, according to the sources that reported the situation. Estimates of the amount that this project would entail have not yet been provided.
The petition comes amid strong divisions between the administration of the president, Donald Trump, who supports the need to move forward with the lifting of the barrier, and members of Congress who oppose the use of military funds for this purpose.
The Government has already used funds for the Department of Defense for the wall. In fact, after Trump declared at the beginning of 2019 the state of national emergency for which he described as a migration crisis, $ 2.5 billion of the drug interdiction program was allocated.
And is that physically separating the United States and Mexico on the border they share is one of the great electoral promises made by the president after launching his candidacy for the 2016 campaign.
His administration planned to build at least 400 miles (644 kilometers) before November 2020 when the tycoon will seek confirmation at the head of the White House in the presidential elections.
So far, the current government has built about 100 miles of border barrier at different points. In all cases, existing structures were replaced, according to Reuters .
To carry out his plans, Trump had to face the opposition of Democrats in Congress and various judicial setbacks that have slowed the implementation of his decisions in this regard.
After obtaining $ 1.4 billion from Congress to continue with the construction of the wall in 2020, he was able to divert up to three times that money with funding from other items thanks to the emergency declaration.
The president wants more money for the wall
The Washington Post announced last Monday that the administration now plans to allocate many more dollars from the Department of Defense to the construction of the wall: specifically, 7.2 billion , five times more than what Congress had authorized by 2020. With that money up to 885 miles of fences would be financed, to be lifted before mid-2022.
The person responsible for making the decision on the request for new funds addressed this week to the Pentagon, after evaluations of whether it is a feasible project and that meets all legal requirements, is the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper.
When asked recently about the financing of the wall, Esper said the Pentagon considers the southwest border to be part of its mission to protect the country, and that the department supports the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). in that respect.
Asked if that meant financial support for DHS, he said: "If that is what is needed, we prepare to do so ."
On January 9, a federal appeals court allowed the Administration to use $ 3.6 billion of Pentagon funds for the wall.
In total, the border between the United States and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles (about 3,200 km) long. There are already barriers built in at least 700 of these miles. The president does not believe that it is necessary to cover them all with a wall: in his opinion, there are also "a lot of natural barriers", including mountains "and violent and cruel rivers" that serve as a natural barrier.
With information from AP and Reuters.
See also: Men easily jump over the border wall that was "impossible to cross"