Trump’s wall plan: Build it 30 feet tall and tam­per-proof

Home­land Se­cu­rity wants bids and pric­ing for seg­ments by May 3.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Maria Re­cio Spe­cial to the Amer­i­can-States­man

The Trump WASH­ING­TON — ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­vealed what the wall on the Mex­i­can bor­der will look like: 30-foot con­crete bar­ri­ers.

The de­scrip­tion was in­cluded in a mod­i­fi­ca­tion the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity made Fri­day to a pre­lim­i­nary no­ti­fi­ca­tion for bids.

“For plan­ning we an­tic­i­pate procur­ing con­crete wall struc­tures, nom­i­nally 30 feet tall, that will meet re­quire­ments for aesthetics, anti-climb­ing, and re­sis­tance to tam­per­ing or dam­age,” says the up­dated no­tice.

The bid re­quest “for the de­sign and build of sev­eral pro­to­type wall struc­tures in the vicin­ity of the United States bor­der with Mex­ico” is due to be pub­lished Wed­nes­day.

Days af­ter be­ing sworn in, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is­sued two ex­ec­u­tive or­ders to con­trol im­mi­gra­tion: one to build a wall on the south­ern bor­der and an­other tem­po­rar­ily ban­ning im­mi­gra­tion from seven Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tions. The pres­i­dent un­veiled a re­vised im­mi­gra­tion or­der Mon­day.

The bid process for Trump’s sig­na­ture is­sue is off to a fast start. Ven­dors have un­til March 20 to sub­mit con­cept pa­pers, with bids, in­clud­ing pric­ing, due May 3. Home­land Se­cu­rity will se­lect sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers, ac­cord­ing to the no­tice.

How­ever, the no­tice makes clear that the wall will not be a 2,000-mile con­crete struc­ture stretch­ing from Brownsville to San Diego.

“The in­tent of this pro­cure­ment is to ac­quire and eval­u­ate avail­able

wall pro­to­types and pro­vide some ini­tial con­struc­tion of some wall seg­ments, but is not in­tended as the ve­hi­cle for the pro­cure­ment of the to­tal wall so­lu­tion for the bor­der with Mex­ico,” the no­tice says.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec- re­tary John Kelly told Congress that there would be a va­ri­ety of meth­ods or a “lay­ered ap­proach” used to se­cure the bor­der.

“There are many, many places where we need a phys- ical bar­rier right now. There are other places where we can af­ford it in time,” Kelly told the House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee last month. “It’s a lay­ered de­fense . ... There’s no one sin­gle so­lu­tion. Bar­ri­ers and pa­trolling the South­west bor­der are a big part of it.”

Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get Di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney spoke about the wall dur­ing an in­ter­view Mon­day with con­ser­va­tive ra­dio host Hugh He­witt, giv­ing some ad­di­tional per­spec­tive on how the wall pro­posal is tak­ing shape.

“When you’re talk­ing about a wall that’s, you know, sev­eral thou­sand miles long, there’s go­ing to be cer­tain places where a cer­tain type of wall (is) more ap­pro­pri­ate than oth­ers,” Mul­vaney said. “For ex­am­ple, some places, a solid con­crete bar­rier might be de­sired. In other places, the bor­der folks are actu- ally telling us, bor­der con- trol’s ac­tu­ally telling us, that they like the one you can see through, be­cause it re­duces the num­ber of vi­o­lent at­tacks on our folks. So it’s a com­pli­cated pro­gram. I don’t know what the an­swer is on the cost, but we will have one shortly.”

Kelly told Congress last month that bor­der of­fi­cials had told him they felt they needed to be able to see through the wall.

The agency said last month in a post­ing first re­ported by the Amer­i­can-States­man that the first phase of con­struc­tion would be near El Paso, Tuc­son, Ariz., and El Cen­tro, Calif., to re­place ex­ist­ing fenc­ing that is “no longer ef­fec­tive.” There are now nearly 700 miles of fenc­ing on the south­ern bor­der.

The wall has been es­ti­mated by some ex­perts and law­mak­ers to cost from $15 bil­lion to $25 bil­lion, and the ini­tial con­struc­tion will be paid for from gov­ern­ment funds, though Trump still in­sists that “Mex­ico will pay for it.” The Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment has said it will not pay for the wall.

Most of the bor­der is in Texas — 1,250 miles — and law­mak­ers who rep­re­sent the bor­der — U.S. Reps. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and Will Hurd, R-Helotes — have pointed out that there are large sec­tions of rugged ter­rain and bod­ies of wa­ter that are un­re­al­is­tic for build­ing a wall. They are also op­posed to the wall, call­ing it an in­ef­fec­tive way to con­trol im­mi­gra­tion.

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