Pentagon sanctions $1bn for Trump's US-Mexico border wall

Trump's key campaign promise had been a border wall between the US and Mexico, a promise he is rushing to fulfill ahead of the 2020 presidential elections (Source: Getty)

The Pentagon has authorised the first transfer of funds for President Donald Trump's wall at the US-Mexico border since he declared a national emergency.

Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan authorised $1bn (£758m) in support from the US Army Corps of Engineers for the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.

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The money will go towards building 57 miles (91km) of 18 feet high fencing, as well as road improvements and lighting installations along the Yuma and El Paso parts of the border.

Shanahan said that the transfer is “in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States”.

Last month, Trump declared a national emergency after Congress refused to authorise $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for his wall, seeking $8bn (£6bn) in funding to build a southern barrier.

Congress had only allotted $1.375bn (£1.06bn) in its spending plan, following a 35-day long fight that saw the country's longest government shutdown to date over the funding dispute.

The declaration allows Trump to bypass Congress and secure funding from the military for his 'Build the wall' campaign promise of a wall straddling the US-Mexico border to stop migrants from entering the country.

The move has been widely condemned by Democrats, who insist that he has manufactured a crisis in an attempt to deliver on a key pledge during his election campaign.

Last month, the House of Representatives, in which the Democrats are the majority, passed a resolution to overturn Trump's declaration.

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The resolution later passed through the Senate with the help of 12 Republican senators before landing on the President's desk, where it was vetoed earlier this month. In order to override him, Congress would need a two-thirds majority.

Trump's declaration is currently being battled in court, with groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of a third of US states suing the president for appropriating already allocated money in the federal budget.