Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and building 57 miles of 18-foot-high fencing in Yuma, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Pentagon says it will divert up to $1 billion to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. The funding would also go toward installing lighting and constructing roads in those areas.

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Shanahan says the Corps’ focus will be on blocking “drug-smuggling corridors.”

The El Paso sector has suddenly become the second-busiest corridor for illegal border crossings after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, many of them asylum-seeking families from Central America. The Yuma sector has also witnessed a jump in illegal crossings, particularly Guatemalan families in remote areas.

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Pentagon to divert up to $1 billion to help build border fencing

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