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A senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday that a request for assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Defense to fund the border wall arrived on Wednesday. There are six areas where DHS has asked for monetary assistance.
While no cash figure was included with the request, it is estimated that it will cost $7.2 billion. That money will reportedly come from the counternarcotic fund and the fund for military construction, according to reports from multiple news outlets.
The area that will be funded includes about 270 miles.
The request will take about two weeks to process. If approved – and if the $7.2 billion figure is accurate – it would bring the total amount of federal funds allocated to the border wall under Trump to $18.2 billion, as reported by The Washington Post.
The Defense Department is legally allowed to assist DHS in constructing or replacing fencing, lighting and roads in any area deemed a “drug smuggling corridor” – which the entire southern border has been.
The government is on track to build 500 miles worth of border wall by the end of the year. More than 100 miles have been built so far.
A senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday that, in 2019, $2.5 billion were allocated from the defense budget toward the construction of the border wall – including some military construction funds. However, the Military Times reported Thursday that $7 billion dollars was moved last year by the Pentagon from its budget to build out the wall in parts of California, Arizona and New Mexico. As of Jan. 13, according to Army Corps of Engineers figures, about $3 billion of that has been awarded for contracts to build 200 miles of barriers.
The publication also reported that with the funding the Army Corps of Engineers has built an estimated 23 miles of wall.
Conflict over funding for the wall resulted in a record-long partial government shutdown last year, causing Trump to declare a national emergency at the border.
President Trump remains insistent that Mexico will ultimately foot the bill for the border wall. In remarks to reporters this week, he indicated that the country would pay indirectly through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday.
Last month a federal court in El Paso ruled the White House broke the law when it moved funds for the border wall that had been authorized by Congress for other purposes and $3.6 billion in funding targeted for new barriers was frozen. However, the Trump administration appealed and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, lifted the injunction last week stating work could continue as the case moves through the courts.
Fox News Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.