US to start building 57 miles of 18ft-high fences along Mexican border

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
By Paul Martin

The Pentagon is diverting $1bn of funding to support the project, which is designed to block “drug-smuggling corridors”.

By Lucia Binding
Tuesday 26 March 2019

Army engineers have received permission to start planning and building 57 miles of 5.5m (18ft) high fencing along the US border with Mexico.

The Pentagon is diverting $1bn (£758m) of funding to support the project, which acting defence secretary Patrick Shanahan says is designed to block “drug-smuggling corridors”.

The fencing is going to be erected in Yuma, Arizona and El Paso, Texas – and both areas have recently seen illegal border crossings increase.

Many of those who attempt to cross are asylum-seeking families from Central America.

A statement explained that the funds will also be used for “constructing and improving roads and installing lighting” to support counter-narcotic activities undertaken by federal law enforcement agencies.

Building a border wall to stop criminals from entering the US was a key promise of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 – but at the time, he had claimed it would be paid for by Mexico, not American taxpayers.

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