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Pentagon awards $646 mln contract for border wall in Arizona

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WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department said on Wednesday it had awarded a $646 million contract to a construction company to design and build a replacement for the border wall in Arizona.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the work by Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Southwest Valley Constructors was expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2020. The work will be performed in the Tucson sector, which includes most of the Arizona border with Mexico. The Pentagon did not indicate the length of the wall to be built.

President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to transfer funds to help build a border wall after he failed to secure funding from Congress.

Last week, the Pentagon said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had approved the transfer of $1.5 billion from the department to build more than 80 miles (130 km) of barriers on the border.

Immigration is a signature issue of Trump's presidency and re-election campaign. He declared a national emergency in order to redirect funding to build a wall without the approval of Congress.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)

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