March 25, 2019 11:54 pm

Pentagon to divert up to $1 billion to help build border fencing

The White House announced it was requesting $8.6 billion for the border wall to help border security officials who are being "overwhelmed" at the U.S.-Mexico land crossing.

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Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and building 57 miles of 18-foot-high fencing in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Pentagon says it will divert up to $1 billion to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. The funding would also go toward installing lighting and constructing roads in those areas.

WATCH: Feb. 26 — U.S. House votes to block Trump’s emergency order over border wall

Shanahan says the Corps’ focus will be on blocking “drug-smuggling corridors.”

The El Paso sector has suddenly become the second-busiest corridor for illegal border crossings after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, many of them asylum-seeking families from Central America. The Yuma sector has also witnessed a jump in illegal crossings, particularly Guatemalan families in remote areas.

READ MORE: ICE arrests within America’s borders fell by nearly 5,000 at the end of last year

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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