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$3.6 billion allocated to border wall fund

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 10th 2019 11:00 pm
Construction of the wall on the southern border of the United States has been a consistent goal of President Donald Trump since his initial bid for presidency in 2016.
Construction of the wall on the southern border of the United States has been a consistent goal of President Donald Trump since his initial bid for presidency in 2016.

President Trumphas finally found traction needed to accomplish one of his biggest campaign promises — building the wall. From early on, Trump has been very loud about his plans to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. As the Trump administration celebrates this win, people are wondering where the billions of dollars needed to fund the construction of the border wall will come from. The answer is bleak. 

The plan is to divert $3.6 billion from military budgets and put it into the construction of the wall. 

According to Vox, “The Trump administration announced last February it would find $3.6 billion from previously approved military construction projects to fund the wall effort.” The article goes on to explain that it was not until Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s letter came out to the public that the financial diversion became clear.

Esper claims this diversion of funding will help the military overall. 

“These projects will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border and channel migrants to ports of entry,” he wrote in a letter to Pentagon colleagues dated Sept. 3. “In short, these barriers will allow [the Pentagon] to provide support to DHS more efficiently and effectively. In this respect, the contemplated construction projects are force multipliers.”

The administration also plans to pull money from U.S. territories and states. CNBC reports on this saying “it will draw the most from two U.S. territories: $403 million and $257 million from Puerto Rico and Guam, respectively. Among states, New York, New Mexico, Alaska, Virginia and Washington will lose the most funding.” These places will be losing funding that would otherwise go toward construction of hangars, training facilities, arms ranges and schools for children on bases, among others.

The Washington Post also reported “the Pentagon is defunding Hurricane Maria recovery projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to pay for President Trump’s border barrier and is also taking money from construction projects across Europe designed to help allies deter Russia.” The Pentagon is referring to these projects as simply deferred. However, in order to continue on again, they would need to be refunded by Congress at a later time. 

Aside from the issues of financing the wall, there have also been several issues regarding the environmental aspects the wall will have. In an article titled “6 ways the border wall could disrupt the environment,” National Geographic explains these potential problems. The wall could threaten diverse landscapes as the construction of a border wall will “bisect the geographic range of 1,506 native animals and plants, including 62 species that are listed as critically endangered,” according to National Geographic. 

After the George W. Bush administration put up 700 miles of fencing, Arizona saw catastrophic flooding. This border wall would exacerbate flooding in nearby areas as well, acting as dams. 

The wall will also cause perils to wildlife and plants by isolating these species. National Geographic reports “the border wall could disconnect a third of 346 native wildlife species from 50% or more of the range that lies south of the border.”

The wall would also divide the Rio Grande and disrupt wildlife refuges and parks. Finally, National Geographic points out the wall’s exemption from environmental oversight laws. This means that the wall does not have to meet the requirements of over 30 federal environmental laws. These include “the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.”

All of this distracts from the issue of how we are treating other humans. Trump has run his campaign and presidency on a platform which leads many to conclude he does not care about people or the environment. His wall will not only hurt the plant and animal life in the surrounding areas, but will also hurt those communities he is taking the funding from. Let us not forget all this is to keep out a group of people seeking a safe place to bring their families, people he has called rapists and drug dealers. As a nation built by immigrants, is this really the step we want to be taking? 

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