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Pentagon shifts another $3.8 billion to building Trump’s Mexico border wall

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A section of the steel wall on the US - Mexico border near San Diego, California AFP/File / Guillermo Arias

The US Defense Department is shifting another $3.8 billion from procurement and other operations towards paying for a wall on the US-Mexican border, official documents sent to the US Congress showed Thursday.

The move took to $9.9 billion the total the Pentagon has been forced by President Donald Trump to reallocate to the barrier, after Congress repeatedly blocked funding.

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The president declared a national emergency last year to be able to draw federal budget funds already allocated to other needs for the wall, which aims to deter migrants from entering the country illegally.

In January an appeals court backed Trump’s diversion of already-purposed federal budget funds to the project, removing a stay on spending set by a lower court after opponents filed suit.

The Pentagon told Congress it was transferring the $3.8 billion to “counter-drug activities” on the border in support of the Department of Homeland Security.

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The money was to be culled from various programs for buying tactical vehicles for the Army National Guard, vessels for the Navy, and combat and transport aircraft for the Navy and Air Force.

Trump promised to build the wall along most of the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico border—paid for by Mexico—during his 2016 presidential campaign.

After he was elected however he sought some $25 billion from Congress but was repeatedly turned back amid opposition to his harsh stance against undocumented migrants already living in the country.

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Meanwhile the number of illegal border-crossers detained soared as hundreds of thousands of migrants poured into the US, mostly from Central America, seeking asylum.

A crackdown and changes in policy that made it far more difficult stay in the United States after submitting an asylum request has seen border apprehension numbers plunge in recent months.

The figure stood at fewer than 37,000 last month, from more than 58,000 a year earlier.

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(AFP)


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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

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Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

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