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Pentagon halts plans to build 20-mile stretch of US-Mexico border wall
A tentative plan to build 20 miles of extra border wall in Arizona, on top of the already approved 100-plus miles, was put on hold Monday by the Pentagon.
Federal officials hoped to build the extra 20 miles of wall in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors. The Army Corps of Engineers said late last month that funds would come from other wall contracts that might cost less than expected. But those savings did not materialize, according to documents filed Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.
The 20 miles of wall would have cost an estimated $200 million to $400 million in anti-drug smuggling funds from the Pentagon, say the documents. They were filed in a lawsuit brought by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity and two wildlife groups trying to stop construction of the border wall. The location of the 20 miles of wall put on hold is unclear, but documents indicate the Tucson Sector project may have involved a stretch east of Nogales.
Elsewhere in Arizona, construction is underway on 5 miles of wall near Lukeville, a small border town about 150 miles west of Tucson, and 26 miles of wall near Yuma.
Construction on other wall projects in Arizona could start as soon as next month. Those projects include about 20 miles of wall in Cochise County and more than 40 miles along the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. About 70 more miles of wall are planned near Yuma.
Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CurtTucsonStar
©2019 The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.)
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For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.