Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by admin
The $2.5 billion on the desk in an upcoming Supreme Courtroom listening to on use of Pentagon funds to construct the border wall has already been paid out, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Navy Instances on Tuesday.
The Supreme Courtroom introduced Monday that it could take up a problem to one of many Trump administration’s U.S-Mexico border fencing funding workarounds, particularly $2.5 billion in army counterdrug cash re-allocated in 2019 to be paid out to contractors by the Military Corps of Engineers.
“These funds cowl 129 miles throughout six tasks,” Mitchell mentioned, contract awards for fencing in New Mexico, Arizona and California, based on USACE information. The Pentagon couldn’t present particulars on what number of of these miles have really been accomplished.
The unique lawsuit, first filed in Texas final yr, challenged the legality of utilizing these funds to construct fencing alongside the U.S.-Mexico border. However because it wound its manner by way of the courts, Pentagon spokesman Military Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell confirmed to Navy Instances on Tuesday, all of that cash has been paid out.
A Texas choose dominated in favor of the plaintiffs late final yr, placing an injunction on any additional border building. However a Justice Division attraction lifted that injunction, and final summer time, the Supreme Courtroom in a 5-Four vote determined to not hear a problem that will have reinstated it.
“The Courtroom’s resolution to let building proceed nonetheless I concern, could function, in impact, as a last judgment,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, on behalf of the 4 justices who voted to listen to the case.
It’s unclear, nevertheless, what would occur if SCOTUS guidelines in opposition to the administration. The unique lower-court ruling stopped building, however didn’t cancel contracts or power refunds, which might be the case once more this time round.
In whole, the Pentagon diverted $6.1 billion in 2019 to fund the border wall, together with $three.6 billion in army building funds.
The Protection Division adopted that up with one other infusion early this yr, of $three.eight billion dollars initially allotted for constructing planes, ships and floor automobiles, which was as an alternative put aside to pay for 200 extra miles of fencing.
Mixed with Homeland Safety Division funds, that ought to be sufficient to cowl almost all the proposed $18-billion, 722-mile wall, the deputy assistant protection secretary for homeland protection integration informed reporters in February.
“Primarily based on the place we’re within the course of, the flexibility to hurry that up and ship on the border barrier building has clearly elevated considerably,” he mentioned. “I don’t have something particular, nevertheless it’s clear that we’ll be assembly the necessities which were recognized by the president to speed up and construct the border barrier as rapidly and successfully as potential.”
Within the meantime, Protection Secretary Mark Esper issued a brand new cap on the variety of troops ― largely Nationwide Guard and reserve ― who can deploy to the border to help Customs and Border Patrol with the stream of migrants.
The restrict is now Four,000, versus 5,500 beforehand, although the numbers had stayed at roughly 5,000 for the earlier two years. The change successfully amounted to a drawdown, which officers had beforehand estimated would begin to occur as soon as sufficient border wall had gone as much as ease the requirement for boots on the bottom.
“So anyplace you’ve now stopped the stream coming throughout, the place we’ve dedicated each detection and monitoring personnel and border police, we now not must commit the identical variety of personnel,” Lt. Gen. Andrew Poppas, then-director of operations for the Joint Workers ― now director of the Joint Chiefs of Workers ― informed reporters in September 2019.