UPDATE, Oct. 20: The final two of eight border wall prototypes neared completion Thursday along a San Diego construction site, CBS News reported. The models, some made of concrete, some of metal and other materials, now form a row near the U.S. border with Tijuana, Mexico. Each prototype, arranged 30 feet apart, cost up to $500,000 in federal funds.
Companies were given until Oct. 26 to complete the models, though project teams were able to install the last two Thursday in a lot just steps away from homes on the Tijuana side of the proposed border. The Trump administration has not revealed how many winners it will tap to build the full-scale border wall or whether the president will be involved in the decision process.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Tuesday that construction has begun in San Diego on eight prototype sections for an eventual wall along the U.S.–Mexico border.
- The prototypes, four of which will be made of concrete and the rest from other materials, will be between 18 feet and 30 feet tall. Construction is expected to last about a month, NBC reported.
- Teams were selected in late August and early September to build the sections. In all, the prototypes are expected to cost between $2.4 million and $4 million to construct.
The prototypes will be used to inform the design and construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Whether the full-scale project will come to fruition has yet to be determined, however, and its opponents are many.
Last week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit alleging the Department of Homeland Security didn't submit the necessary environmental impact statements for the prototypes' construction, and that San Diego–area counties used out-of-date exemptions to waive laws that would allow them to speed up construction.
In South Texas, environmentalists are challenging CBP plans to build a 3-mile section of wall through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to 400-plus bird species and two endangered wildcats, among other protected natural elements. Preliminary border wall work is also underway in parts of Arizona, California, New Mexico and elsewhere in Texas.
Meanwhile, the project is struggling to get the funding it needs. So far, the Senate has pushed back on the House's $1.6 billion appropriation, though the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this month authorized the Border Security for America Act — a bill that would allocate $10 billion for construction of the wall. The measure is expected to secure approval from the Republican-led House, but it is unlikely that it will be able to win the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate.
Still, even with that amount, the project would come up short. The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year that a border wall at the scale of the one proposed could cost around $22 billion in all.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump claimed that Mexico would pay for the project. Mexican leaders have continued to state that the country will not finance such a project or reimburse the U.S. for the work.