US defense secretary approves $1 bln for border wall

            By Kasım İleri</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved up to $1 billion late Monday for building a portion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.</p>  <p>Shanahan authorized the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol, the Pentagon said in a statement.</p>  <p>The Pentagon said the funds will be used to build 57 miles (92 kilometers) of 18-foot (5.5-meter) high pedestrian fencing, construct and improve roads, and install lighting within the Yuma and El Paso sectors of the border.</p>  <p>The move aims to support the Feb. 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States, it added.</p>  <p>President Donald Trump moved to build his long-promised border wall through an executive order last month after he failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from Congress for the barrier's construction, having shut down Congress for the longest stretch in history over his demand.</p>  <p>Opponents of Trump's executive order have warned that it sets a dangerous precedent and violates the Constitution's delegation of funding powers to the legislative branch.</p>  <p>Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, ripped Trump's action in a statement, saying &quot;it is no surprise that the president holds the rule of law and our Constitution in minimal regard&quot;.</p>  <p>*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur