US Seeks Bids From Builders for 9-Meter-High Border Wall

Mar 20, 2017, 00:32
US Seeks Bids From Builders for 9-Meter-High Border Wall

Trump, who as a candidate made the Mexican border wall one of his main campaign themes, said he wanted "a big, lovely wall", and the government's request for bids reflected that wish, declaring the completed project should be "aesthetically pleasing" - at least on the north or USA -facing side of the wall.

After initially saying the wall should be made of concrete, the government widened its call and said it would consider "other designs".

Throughout his campaign, Trump promised to not only build the highly controversial border wall, but also that Mexico would pay for it. Though repeatedly blocked by USA courts, he continues to attempt to forbid immigration from many Muslim nations, and despite opposition voices saying a border wall would be an expensive ecological disaster, his team appears to want to go ahead with the idea. It also wants those making proposals to ensure that they include plans to prevent people tunneling or digging at least six feet under the wall.

The wall in most areas now is about 20 feet tall. The US-facing side of the structure has to be "aesthetically pleasing" the agency emphasized.

Instead, the requests said that the prototypes must be able to withstand "for a minimum of 1 hour" efforts to breach it by punching, using a sledgehammer, or a "car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar handheld tools".

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Trump proposed a wall in 2016, and now, as president, he's pushing to make it happen.

The port of entry from Mexico to the U.S.is seen next to the border wall in San Ysidro, Calif.

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The Government Accountability Office estimated it would cost about US$6.5 million per mile (3.8 million euros per kilometer) for a pedestrian-proof fence and about $1.8 million a mile for a vehicle barrier. The agency previously called for would-be bidders to submit concept designs by March 10, but it was not clear whether any were submitted. In Texas, the border runs along the Rio Grande, a twisting, wild river prone to flash flooding, with two reservoirs with constantly shifting shorelines.

The final cost of the wall - and even whether it will be built - is a matter of debate. The administration plans to increase the number of border patrol agents to 5,000 and immigration and customs enforcement staff to 10,000, in addition to spending $1.5 billion to set up detention centres for undocumented immigrants.

The budget includes proposals to hire 20 lawyers who would focus on land acquisition and 20 more attorneys and support staff for "immigration litigation assistance".