Pentagon surveying sites for new border wall segments

The Pentagon has begun surveying sites along the southern border to put up new physical barriers, as the administration moves forward with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE's border wall.

The new construction will be funded by $1 billion recently transferred by the Pentagon under Trump’s national emergency declaration and could begin by late May if the Department of Homeland Security issues environmental waivers, which would expedite construction, according to CNN.


A spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed to The Hill that teams of experts and engineers are looking at sites in Yuma, Ariz., and the New Mexico portion of the El Paso sector, which also includes Texas.

Each assessment will reportedly take roughly seven days and will likely be followed up in April by contracts being sent to builders and formal engineering surveys, CNN reported.

The Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson did not confirm the timing of the projects.

The construction is part of an additional 57 miles of fencing being placed along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as improvements to roads and other measures in the region. The Pentagon announced its approval of the $1 billion transfer this week and said it will direct the funds toward building an 18-foot-high fencing along the Yuma and El Paso sections of the border.

Senate Democrats came out swinging against the money transfer this week, writing in a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran MORE that they "have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military." 

Trump has ramped up pressure against Democrats to support his immigration policies, highlighting a rise in border crossings to support his claim that the country is facing a national emergency.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. on Friday.