The U.S. Department of Defense plans to invest $ 3.8 billion that was earmarked for armaments programs in the construction of the wall to Mexico demanded by U.S. President Donald Trump. As the Pentagon said on Thursday, it will be used to finance around 285 kilometers of border walls.
The money for this is to come from programs for the procurement of fighter planes, helicopters and shipbuilding, but also the funds for foreign missions in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, the Washington Post reported , citing a Pentagon message to the US Congress. Representatives of both parties immediately criticized the parliament.
Republican MP Mac Thornberry said the reallocation of US Congress budget sovereignty contradicts. The House's Democratic Chair, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned the "theft" of funds approved by the United States Congress. "Congress has repeatedly refused to fund the President's wasteful, ineffective border wall," said Pelosi and Schumer. According to the government, it undermines national security with its politically motivated approach.
A pentagon spokesman, on the other hand, said the ministry was responding to a request from the Department of Homeland Security to help combat drug smuggling on the southern U.S. border. The spokesperson said the realignment of the funds necessary for this purpose is at the ministry's discretion.
Trump wants to complete 800 kilometers of the Wall by 2021
Building the wall on the border with Mexico has long been one of Trump's key promises. Before he was elected President in 2016, he claimed that Mexico was going to build the border wall. However, it turned out differently. After three years in office, according to the Department of Homeland Security, just over 160 kilometers of the new border wall had been completed - this corresponds to about 5 percent of the approximately 3,200 km long US border with Mexico.
The slow progress in building the wall is due, among other things, to legal disputes and the resistance of the Democrats in Congress who control the House of Representatives. Trump had therefore declared a national emergency at the border a year ago to allow the redistribution of funds from the defense budget for the construction of the wall. Through the other use of the money, about ten billion dollars were raised for the construction of the wall. Courts confirmed this practice and allowed Trump to use defense funds to build the wall.
As announced by the White House on Thursday, the emergency declaration will now be extended by one year. This was necessary to "control illegal immigration and the influx of drugs and criminals on the southern border". The US president wants to finish up to 800 kilometers of the new wall by early 2021. However, many experts see this planning as too optimistic.