May 10 (UPI) -- The Pentagon authorized another $1.5 billion to be shifted to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Friday.
He told Fox News the funds are expected to go toward constructing 80 miles of border wall. The money had been intended to to support Afghan security forces and other Defense projects.
"Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier," Shanahan said. "The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness."
The Defense Department notified Congress of the shift in funds Friday.
"Today, the Defense Department will divert another $1.5 billion from our military to the 'big & beautiful' border wall," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a tweet. "The Pentagon has now reprogrammed 12 times more money to the wall than for repairs at Tyndall [Air Force Base], destroyed by Hurricane Michael. We should put troops first!"
The shifting of funds comes about a week after the White House asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency funds to cover humanitarian assistance and increase security at the border. The request includes $3.3 billion in humanitarian funding and another $1.1 billion for border operations. It also calls for $377 million for the Defense Department and National Guard for patrols.
"The situation becomes more dire each day. The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the federal government to respond," acting White House budget director Russ Vought said in the request.
On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents arrested 98,977 undocumented immigrants in April, a 6.52 percent increase over March and a 157.89 percent increase over April 2018.