With literally zero pesos secured from Mexico for a U.S. border wall that would cost tens of billions of dollars, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) moved forward Friday by publishing specifications for contractors interested in designing and building Donald Trump’s Dream Wall.
Contractors eyeing the job that would be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in U.S. history have two weeks to submit their proposals, NPR reports. According to the CBP, the wall should be 30-foot-tall, made of concrete or a see-through structure, and “physically imposing in height.” It also should be “aesthetically pleasing in color, [with] anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment”—on the U.S. side only. (To hell with the Mexicans, despite that they’re supposed to be paying for it.)
The wall also must be resistant to attacks by “sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools,” the CBP said.
NPR’s Richard Gonzales said 400 companies are interested in participating, although only a few actually have the technical capability to carry out such a massive project, which is supposed to line some 2,000 miles along the U.S.–Mexican border at a cost of anywhere between $12-25 billion, or more.
According to CNN, the government will select several 30-foot-long proposal prototypes to be built at a cost of up to $500,000 each.
Of candidate Donald Trump’s many campaign promises, building a “big, beautiful” border wall was his biggest and most expensive. Trump claimed he would make Mexico pay for the wall, but like his other policy promises, that doesn’t seem to be panning out.
As part of the White House’s budget plan released on Thursday, Trump wants a $2 billion down payment (from U.S. taxpayers) for the wall, which The New York Times noted is “one of the single largest investments in the president’s budget plan.”
According to The New York Times:
If funded, Mr. Trump’s plan would spend billions of dollars on the design and construction of the wall. It would also prompt a hiring spree in the Justice and Homeland Security Departments to step up enforcement and the deportation of people who are in the United States illegally. Programs and agencies of all sizes from across the federal government would face cuts to pay for the plan.
The largest single chunk of money is reserved for the border wall itself, one of Mr. Trump’s signature campaign promises that has deeply polarized American voters. The proposal calls for $2.6 billion to be spent on ‘tactical infrastructure’ and other security technology at the border, including money to plan, design and begin building the wall.
Trump also wants a small army of lawyers to fight landowners in border states to obtain private land for the wall and additional detention centers. Some Texans, the Texas Observer reports, already have begun receiving legal notices regarding their land from the Department of Homeland Security. One notice, known as a “Declaration of Taking,” offered ailing landowner María Flores $2,900 for 1.2 acres near the Rio Grande, her daughter told the paper.