The Pentagon has authorised the use of more than $3 billion to implement nearly a dozen projects on the U.S.-Mexico border in the name of national security, according to a top official.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper made this known in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I have determined that 11 military construction projects are necessary along the international border with Mexico, with an estimated cost of $3.6 billion… to support the use of armed forces in connection with the national emergency.
“I have authorised and directed the Acting Secretary of the Army to undertake these 11 projects,” Esper said in a letter that was publicly released on Tuesday.
The barriers, he added, are meant to deter illegal entry, channel migrants to ports of entry and will help Defense Department personnel more efficiently support homeland security efforts. U.S. President Donald Trump has been slammed by lawmakers in recent days over the diversion of emergency funding for building a border wall amid hurricane season.
Later on Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump’s decision to divert military funding without congressional approval to build the border wall will make America less safe and dishonors the U.S. Constitution.
The lawmakers also said that the chamber would be willing to fight this move in court. ”The House will continue to fight this unacceptable and deeply dangerous decision in the Courts, in the Congress and in the court of public opinion, and honor our oath to protect the Constitution,” Pelosi said in a statement.