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Pentagon diverts $3.6bn for the Mexican border wall

The US Defence Department said on Tuesday it was freeing up $3.6 billion in funds budgeted for other projects to build a wall on the Mexican border as ordered by President Donald Trump.

Six weeks after being confirmed by Congress, Defence Secretary Mike Esper has signed off on the diversion of funds from 127 “deferred military projects” both inside and outside the country, said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffmann.

In February Trump, frustrated that Congress would not provide funding for the 18-foot (5.5-metre) barrier, declared a “national emergency” at the border in order to obtain $6.6 billion from other budgeted accounts for wall construction aimed at stemming the flow of undocumented migrants from Mexico and Central America.

That included an initial $2.5 billion from Pentagon spending that was to have been used for programs to combat drug trade.

Multiple lawsuits against the wall led a federal judge to place an injunction blocking the funding until he cases could be reviewed.

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