Sept. 4 (UPI) — The Pentagon on Tuesday approved the reallocation of $3.6 billion of defense funding to President Donald Trump’s plan for an expanded physical border along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a letter to Congress, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the funding would be redistributed from 127 military construction projects to 11 wall projects, which he said are “necessary to support the use of armed forces in connection with the national emergency” at the southern border.
“These projects will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border and channel migrants to ports of entry,” Esper wrote. “They will reduce the demand for DoD personnel and assets at the locations where the barriers are constructed and allow the redeployment of DoD personnel and assets to other high-traffic areas on the border without barriers.”
Officials said the $3.6 billion will fund 175 miles of new or reconstructed wall along the border with Mexico.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath said the Pentagon will release a list of the 127 military construction projects that will lose funding because of the decision later this week after the agency notifies lawmakers and foreign embassies, The Washington Post reported.
The Pentagon said the affected projects won’t be canceled and could avoid delay if Congress agrees to appropriate funds for them once again.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York condemned the decision, describing Trump’s efforts to expand the physical border wall as “misguided.”
“It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that [Trump] is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build,” he wrote on Twitter.