13:25 GMT05 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Defense Department is evaluating a request from the Department of Homeland Security to fund border wall construction at up to 13 corridors along the southern US border, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said in a statement.

    "On January 15, 2020, the Department of Defence received a request from the Department of Homeland Security requesting DoD assistance in blocking up to 13 specific drug-smuggling corridors on Federal land along the southern border of the United States," Mitchell said on Thursday. "The Department is evaluating this request."

    The Defence Department will make recommendations to the acting Secretary of Homeland Security in the "near future," Mitchell said.

    Earlier, Reuters reported, citing a Defence Department official, that the request includes a total of 270 miles of border wall construction.

    On Tuesday, Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that the Defence Department is prepared to divert funding for border wall construction this year. Esper added that the southwest US border is a security issue and the Defence Department remains committed to supporting the Department of Homeland Security and its mission.

    The Washington Post reported on Monday that the Trump administration is preparing to divert $7.2 billion in Defence Department funding for border wall construction.


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