The Pentagon has approved the transfer of up to $1 billion – enough to build 57 miles of wall on the southern border, according to a Defense Department statement released Monday night.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan notified Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the transfer in a letter, released alongside the statement, which said the money will go to block “up to 11 drug-smuggling corridors along the border.”
Shanahan “authorized the commander of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol,” according to the statement.
“These funds will be used to support DHS’s request to build 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso Sectors of the border in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States.”
The statement adds that the Pentagon has such authority to transfer the money “to construct roads and fences and to install lighting to block drug-smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States in support of counter-narcotic activities of Federal law enforcement agencies.”
The Trump administration plans to use roughly $8 billion to build barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, with $6.1 billion of that pulled from Pentagon accounts. A total $2.5 billion is expected to be taken from counter-drug programs and $3.6 billion from military construction funds.