Mockups of the wall intended to provide a border between the US and Mexico were completed Thursday, marking the first step toward seeing through one of President Trump’s most ambitious campaign promises.
The structures, designed to prevent and discourage illegal entry into the US, stand 30-feet high in San Diego near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, with four models constructed of concrete and four other “see-through” models constructed of “alternate materials.”
At a press conference Thursday, US Customs and Border Protection hailed the construction of the prototypes as “an announcement to be proud of.”
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) October 26, 2017
A time-lapse video showing prototype construction over the past thirty days was released Wednesday by the San Diego US Border Patrol division.
Six US companies out of 300 were picked back in September to build prototypes which may be selected by the federal government to form a physical border in parts of the southwestern US where geographical features do not provide natural barriers.
The companies include KWR Construction Company from Sierra Vista, Arizona, ELTA North America from Annapolis Junction, Md., Caddell Construction Company of Alabama, Fisher Sand & Gravel Company from Phoenix, Arizona, Houston-based Texas Sterling Construction Company, and W.G. Yates and Sons Construction Company out of Philadelphia, Miss.
A border agent told MSNBC earlier this week the next step will be to test the designs for vulnerabilities.
“We are going to test it for breachability, the subterranean aspect, can we dig under it, can we cut through it? Can we scale over it?” the agent stated, ultimately concluding the wall would undoubtedly stymie illegal entries.
“Can we do our jobs better? Absolutely, and I think these walls are going to contribute to that,” the CBP agent admitted.
Amid the interview three illegal immigrants scaled the current wall, illustrating the need for a taller structure.
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) October 24, 2017
The Wall Street Journal reports contract notices required wall samples be fortified to withstand “at least an hour with a ‘sledgehammer, car jack, pick ax, chisel, battery-operated impact tools, battery-operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.”
“The wall is also supposed to look attractive to anyone seeing it from the U.S. side,” the Journal notes.
8 prototype walls ready for inspection. pic.twitter.com/wNkdSCGrcP
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 26, 2017
Another hurdle that needs to be overcome is getting Congress to appropriate the necessary funding for the project.
According to the Associated Press, “Trump has asked Congress for USD 1.6 billion to replace 14 miles of wall (22.4 kilometers) in San Diego and build 60 miles (96 kilometers) in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.”
It still remains to be seen whether the president will fulfill perhaps his greatest wall commitment, getting Mexico to pay for it.