560 Acres of Federal Land Transferred to Army to Speed Up Border Wall Construction, Feds Say

Mexican security forces patrol the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana Baja California state, Mexico, on Sept. 18, 2019, in preparation for U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to the border wall in Otay Mesa following a rally in San Diego. (Credit: GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican security forces patrol the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana Baja California state, Mexico, on Sept. 18, 2019, in preparation for U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to the border wall in Otay Mesa following a rally in San Diego. (Credit: GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Department of Interior says it is transferring 560 acres (226 hectares) of federal land to the U.S. Army to speed up construction on 70 miles (113 kilometers) of border wall in West Texas, California and Arizona.

This marks the first time the government has transferred land on an emergency basis to build border barriers.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond said Wednesday that “extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve values that would otherwise be lost” at the southern border.

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump visited a newly completed section of the border wall in California. Trump’s signature campaign promise was to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

He promised Mexico would pay for it, but he is instead using billions in Defense Department money.

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