President Donald Trump could be diverting billions more in military funding toward the border wall project in an effort to finish 500 miles of the promised wall with Mexico before the end of his term in office, according to The DailyMail.
“The move would allow officials to bypass congressional opposition while helping complete the president’s signature campaign promise as he asks voters to re-elect him,” the DailyMail reported.
“The goal to build 500 new miles would cost $18.4 billion, The Washington Post reported, which is far more than the administration has publicly disclosed.”
Documents reviewed by reporters showed that building 509 miles of wall would cost around $36 million per mile. The government would also need the land that lies beneath around 200 of those miles, either by buying it or claiming eminent domain, according to the publication.
This news comes just days after the Interior Department has signed off on a transfer of 560 acres of public land to the U.S. Army as part of their border wall project that would allow them to build around 70 miles of border wall, according to The Hill.
Interior David Bernhardt made the announcement on Wednesday, including that the property transfer is a temporary one that gives the Army access to parts of the New Mexico, California and Arizona’s border with Mexico for a three-year period.
According to The Hill, the transfer will not in any way interfere with any national parks or segments of Native American land.
“I’ve personally visited the sites that we are transferring to the Army, and there is no question that we have a crisis at our southern border,” Bernhardt said in a department announcement The Hill reported. “Absent this action, national security and natural resource values will be lost. The impacts of this crisis are vast and must be aggressively addressed with extraordinary measures.”
The Trump administration plans to transfer federal land into military control in order to continue construction of the wall along the southern border. https://t.co/D7FQTL8MJs
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2019
This news came just hours after report in the Military Times revealed that portions of the border wall between the United States and Mexico were put on hold early this week after the Army Corps of Engineers “determined that there are insufficient contract savings to undertake the three additional” projects.
The total original piece of construction was supposed to come in at 20 miles of fence, for the three combined areas, approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Aug. 26, per court documents reviewed by the Military Times.
To complicate matters, there are currently three lawsuits in progress over the $2.5 billion in DoD counter-drug funding that is being used on the projects.
However, when the total costs were tallied, the final totals didn’t come back within budget, so two planned segments in Yuma and one in Tuscon are now on hold for the foreseeable future.
“That $2.5 billion is meant to build more than 100 miles of border barriers through California, Arizona and New Mexico,” the Military Times reported.
Written by Savannah Pointer.