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Pentagon to redirect $2.2 billion in border wall funds back to military projects

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Members of the US navy wearing face masks standing on the deck of a navy ship during a military exercise on June 11, 2021 in Agadir, Morocco. (Photo by AFP)

The Pentagon says it will restore $2.2 billion to military projects that were cancelled by the Trump administration to pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from coming to the United States. 

The US Department of Defense announced on Friday that the money will go to 66 projects in 16 countries, 11 US states and three US territories in fiscal 2021.

The Biden administration in late April announced it would cancel border wall projects that had been funded through the Defense Department and return the funds to the military construction projects from which they were pulled during the Trump administration.

Among the restored military construction projects is $79 million for an elementary school for children of military personnel in Germany, $94 million for another such school in Japan, $50 million for a Marine Corps machine gun range in Guam, $10 million for a missile field expansion at Fort Greely, Alaska, as well as numerous other schools, hangars, housing, shops and facilities, according to a memorandum signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Thursday as quoted by The Hill.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday that of an original 123 projects that had been stripped of their funds, the money meant for more than 50 of those had already been used for the border wall. The 66 remaining projects will receive funds from the $2.2 billion that was not yet spent.

Former US President Donald Trump had diverted billions of dollars in Pentagon construction, weapons and counterdrug funds — including $3.6 billion in construction dollars — toward building the wall, using emergency powers after Congress refused to fully fund the project directly.

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