To see how this announcement fits into the timeline of border wall construction, click here.
- In a report to Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection tests on the U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes completed last year uncovered deficiencies in several areas. In addition, GAO concluded that CBP's methodology did not take into consideration the potential cost impacts of building the barriers on different types of topographies, dealing with land ownership issues or other variables and, therefore, did not have all the information it needed to allocate resources efficiently.
- In the report, GAO points to a prototype evaluation conducted by CBP. In that examination, CBP found that all four concrete prototypes would present extensive constructability challenges and that the four barrier prototypes would come with moderate or substantial obstacles. These findings were influenced by the projected effects of slope changes on foundations, distance from the border, the weight of construction materials and necessary heavy equipment logistics. Six prototypes would require substantial or extensive design changes to meet design requirements. CBP test results regarding scalability and breachable elements of the prototypes were deemed too sensitive to include in the public report.
- GAO recommended that the Department of Homeland Security take on a cost analysis of its own and include that in any future border wall plans. CBP disagreed with GAO's conclusion that its cost analysis was inadequate and said current policy allows it first to consider operational priorities based on risks and threats.
In more bad news for wall proponents, the activist groups that lost their battle earlier this year to keep the administration from waiving environmental regulations in order to expedite a border wall project near San Diego have decided to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Fronteras.
Just because the groups requested a review by the Supreme Court doesn’t mean they'll get it, and even if the court agrees to hear the case, they might not like the answer.
But the administration is up against an even more daunting foe in their efforts to build a border wall, and that is funding for it, or the lack thereof. This week, after an illegal immigrant from Mexico was accused of murder in Iowa, the president once again called on Republicans to fund the wall. However, both parties have been reluctant to embrace the wall project, and prior negotiations for a wall deal between the White House and Democrats have not been successful.