The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Tuesday that prototypes for Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border should be built by September. In fact, the first step of this project, which is a bidding process for contractors to design and construct prototypes at the south-west border in San Diego, California, is already under way.
According to the acting deputy commissioner of CBP, Ron Vitiello, they are in the process of evaluating proposals, and that the construction for the prototype process should be finished in September. Vitiello predicted that between four and eight companies would make the final round of the contracting process. Once the companies are given notice, they will finish the construction of their prototypes within roughly 30 days. The prototypes will be geographically close to each other. Final selection is said to be decided on after a thorough review.
Vitiello revealed that San Diego was chosen because it has insufficient border fencing that has been breached for more than 800 times in the past year; moreover, it also has relatively advanced infrastructure and technology.
An internal report by the Department of Homeland Security estimated that the complete construction of the border would cost $21.6 billion and take more than three years to build. So far, DHS has only identified $20 million which can be used on the project—enough to cover the prototypes. The department has issued a budget that asks Congress to approve nearly $1.6bn for the wall in 2018. During the election campaign Trump claimed that Mexico will pay for the wall but in April he tweeted: “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”
Vitiello, however, suggested that the wall will not span the entire border, since in some areas (where there are natural barriers), fencing is not practical.
Our Verdict: During Trump’s election campaign, he repeatedly pledged to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. In his first week in the White House, he signed an executive order calling for immediate construction of the wall. We’ve also seen him toughening up on visa policies; it is likely that he will continue taking a harder line on immigration issues, and more people will continue to be affected.