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Pentagon has finalized contracts for $ 2.5B in border barrier construction

T he Pentagon says it has finalized contracts to build a portion of President Trump's long-desired barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"This past April and May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded roughly $ 2.5 billion in projects to construct border wall along the southwest border. These projects will span 129 miles at locations in New Mexico, Arizona, and California," chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters Thursday.

"We are proud to announce that as of this week virtually all of that $ 2.5 billion has been committed and is on contract. We expect to have the remaining $ 3 million required by the end of the month."

The money was the subject of a legal battle after the Trump administration diverted it from a Pentagon counter-narcotics account earlier this year. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Trump's favor in July. Trump celebrated the ruling on Twitter minutes after it was announced.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper authorized another $ 3.6 billion to be diverted to 175 miles of border wall construction earlier this month. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt transferred 560 acres of land to the Army Wednesday to facilitate 70 miles of border barrier in parts of El Paso, Texas; San Diego, California; and Yuma, Arizona.

The administration used Trump's February declaration of a national emergency to make the transfer. "The Army Corps will be the executive agent for it," Hoffman said.

About 654 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border have fencing or walls, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

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