President Donald Trump and his administration have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to allow military-funded border wall construction to move forward, The Washington Times reported, while the issue makes its way through the lower courts.
Lawyers for the administration have framed the transfer of military funds to the project as urgent because the money will become unavailable in three months when the fiscal year ends. Another argument that the president's lawyers made is that the plaintiffs, which include the Sierra Club, do not have standing.
The DOD has found money to put toward border wall construction from various accounts but has always maintained that the money was gleaned from savings or was not needed to advance military operations.
The department's first $1 billion of funding came from counter-narcotics programs. This was followed by another $1.5 billion from the Afghan Security Forces Fund ($604 million); a program that sees to the destruction of lethal chemical agents and munitions ($251 million); Air Force contract programs ($344 million); the military retirement system ($224 million); and a fund used to reimburse coalition partners that have helped U.S. military operations ($78 million). The DOD said most of this latest round of money was a result of savings.
In all, the president said he was looking for approximately $8 billion of DOD money to help fund the border wall, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started prequalifying contractors to do the work.
While the White House keeps trying to advance construction paid for with military funds, other work paid for by other means continues.
One of the latest is a $33 million contract to Southwest Valley Constructors, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Southwest will build a stretch of border wall in four segments, all of which are designed with 18-foot- to 30-foot-tall steel bollards. The company will also install detection technology and new lighting and will also perform some road construction. In its announcement of the deal with Southwest, U.S. Customs and Border Protection made a point of stating that the work would be paid for with fiscal year 2019 appropriations and with funds from the military.