The head of the US Department of Defense, Mark Esper, approved the reallocation of funding of 127 defense programs for the construction of the border wall with Mexico. This was reported by a number of American media and politicians, whom the Pentagon announced about its decision.
In total, it is planned to withdraw $ 3.6 billion from the defense budget for the construction of border facilities. One half of the amount will be borrowed from the Pentagon’s expenses for the construction of facilities abroad, and the second from the financing of internal projects.
Thus, the leadership of the military department responded to the demand of the White House. According to the presidential administration, the funds received will allow the construction of about 175 miles (281 km) of barriers.
“Ministry of Defense units and military departments provided information and prioritized projects based on their impact on combat readiness and their compliance with national defense strategies,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman quoted Euronews as saying.
He added that individual projects affected by the redistribution of funds will be announced after Congress notifies the decision.
For her part, the chief financial inspector of the US Department of Defense, Elaine McKasker, said that construction could begin within 100 days in the territories of the Ministry of Defense, such as the Air Force training ground named after Barry Goldwater, located in the vicinity of the US-Mexican border.
According to experts, instructing the Pentagon to find funds for the construction of the wall, Trump made a win-win move.
“Trump, despite the resistance of the Democrats, has inflated the defense budget over the past few years. The Pentagon is grateful to the head of state for this and meets the wishes of Trump, contrary to not only the opinion of the Democratic Party, but also some republicans. Obviously, the US president has found a way to implement his ambitious project on the southern border, although he is put in the wheel, ”said political analyst Alexander Asafov in an interview with RT.
Great American Wall
The construction of the wall on the border with Mexico to combat the penetration of illegal migrants from Latin America into the United States is one of the central promises Donald Trump made to his voters.
Recall that the total length of the US-Mexican border is 3,145 km (1,954 miles). Despite all the measures taken by the authorities of the States, thousands of migrants annually cross the border. Trump is not the first American politician to decide to stop illegal immigrants with the help of physical barriers. Under George W. Bush, a 1,000-kilometer-long wall was built on the border. But part of the border areas runs along the mountainous terrain, which is not very suitable for construction work, experts say.
- US National Guard Patrol Border with Mexico
- © Carlos Jasso
In addition, the wall itself is not an insurmountable obstacle for migrants. An audit conducted earlier this year by the US Department of Homeland Security revealed that the steel slats that make up the wall under construction can be cut. Therefore, it is not necessary to say that the wall will completely stop the influx of migrants. According to the American administration, the fence will only allow the border service to respond more quickly to attempts at illegal crossings.
At the same time, it is still necessary to build a wall, experts say.
“The absence of a guarded border and physical obstacles leads to the existence of a migratory flow, as well as drug trafficking. Organized crime and drug cartels take advantage of this, ”said Yuri Rogulev, director of the US Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States, in an interview with RT.
Previously, disagreements over the wall between the Democrats, who have the majority in the House of Representatives, and the Republicans led to a prolonged shutdown - the work of government agencies in the country stopped for 35 days.
The White House has shown stubborn efforts to combat illegal migration. It's not just about building a wall: last year, Trump sent troops to the Mexican border who should support the forces of the Ministry of Homeland Security.
Initially, the military presence at the border was to be curtailed by mid-December 2018, but then it was extended until September 30, 2019.
The White House initiative to redirect defense budget funds to the construction of border facilities was met with serious criticism. In June this year, a California federal court blocked Pentagon funding for this project. Trump said he would appeal the decision.
The appeal was upheld by the Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court ruling, allowing continued construction work on the southern borders of the United States. Commenting on the court decision, Trump called it "a big win for border security."
Work on the electorate
The decision of the Pentagon head to redistribute part of the budget for the construction of the wall caused a flurry of indignation among representatives of the Democratic Party. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer called the White House’s decision “a spit in the face of the military.” The politician wrote about this on his Twitter.
“Today, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told me that the Department of Defense will redistribute the $ 3.6 billion allocated for the construction of military facilities, including at West Point Military Academy, in order to build the useless wall of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is going to encroach on the already allocated military funding in order to amuse his vanity and build a wall, which, as he promised, Mexico will pay for - this is a spit in the face of the military personnel of our country, ”wrote Schumer.
Today Defense Secretary Mark Esper notified me that the Department of Defense will reprogram $ 3.6 billion in funds appropriated for military construction projects, including at the US Military Academy at West Point, in order to build @realDonaldTrump's misguided border wall.- Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 3, 2019
Three Democratic senators - Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Brian Schatz - also condemned the presidential administration’s decision, accusing Trump of “stealing” funds from military personnel and their families.
"And this is for the sake of building a wall that does not help overcome the humanitarian crisis on the southern border and protect the American people," the senator said in a statement.
According to experts, the accusations that are now being made to Trump by the Democrats are devoid of logic.
“These statements are dictated by political motives, but in fact, the actions of the Pentagon and the White House are quite rational. The engineering troops are engaged in the construction of such facilities; they have special equipment and personnel. The funds will simply be transferred to the balance sheet of this department so that the work will be completed, ”said Yuri Rogulev in a comment to RT.
This decision will not lead to gaps in the defense budget, since with a total amount of funding of about 700 billion, the Pentagon can easily give up several billion, Rogulev believes.
“If the US president had not begun building a wall on the border, then the Democrats would have started criticizing him for this, accusing him of a migration crisis,” the expert noted.
However, the argument of the Democrats has many supporters in the United States, a significant part of the Americans also do not support the construction of the wall. This is evidenced by a survey conducted in January of this year by the SSRS service commissioned by CNN. The survey showed that 56% of respondents do not support the idea of building a wall, 39% of respondents spoke for the project.
However, experts doubt that the Democrats will be able to stop Donald trump and block the construction.
“He has already put forward the obstacles to construction that Congress could have put, all measures have been exhausted. I think that now the opposition will be limited to media statements. Even the rhetoric of the Democrats indicates their powerlessness. In fact, they use the old theses of Trump himself, which he used, calling for an increase in defense spending, ”said Alexander Asafov.
Against this background, Trump's rating is growing: if in 2017 this figure averaged 38% in the country, then at the beginning of this year it reached 40%. Such results were obtained in a survey conducted by the Gallup Public Opinion Institute.
- Donald Trump
- © Joshua Roberts
Trump is not trying to win the sympathy of all Americans, but is guided by the opinion of individual groups of voters - his own nuclear electorate, experts are sure. And since the majority of these population groups strongly support the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, the head of the White House spares no effort to fulfill this promise.
According to Alexander Asafov, the outcome of the 2020 presidential campaign largely depends on whether Trump will fulfill his promise and build a wall on the border with Mexico.
“I think Trump is now mobilizing all his allies in the Pentagon, and in business circles, to build the wall. As for the arguments of his opponents that the money is needed for the defense of the country, the Trump electorate will be presented with a convincing explanation of why the funds now need to be sent to defend the border. In addition, no one talks about the cessation of those projects whose funding has been suspended, the Pentagon will return to them later after the wall is built, and Trump will become the head of state for the second time. He will tell his voters that the main opponents of the USA are those who want to destroy the country from within, ”Asafov concluded.