Legal challenges delay US–Mexico border wall prototypes
Disputes filed by two unsuccessful bidders for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S.–Mexico border wall prototype project have the potential to postpone construction until winter, at least, according to CNN.
Two protests from Texas-based PennaGroup are under review, a process that won't be complete until October. Disputes from WNIS, the other company, have been dismissed. In that scenario and barring an earlier settlement, the earliest construction can begin is November, according to Customs and Border Protection.
Despite that delay, CBP, according to The Texas Tribune, is set to begin building a 3-mile section of the wall through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, in South Texas. CBP will reportedly redirect money from its existing budget so that it can perform the work.
Building a border wall between the U.S and Mexico was one of Trump's major talking points during the presidential campaign, and the subject is still a rallying cry for the president's supporters.
During the campaign, Trump said Mexico would pay for construction of the wall, a proposition that Mexican officials have consistently rejected. That could leave taxpayers on the hook. The White House hasn't yet requested the massive amount of funding needed for the project. And even though the House Appropriations Committee last week approved $1.6 billion for wall construction, winning Senate approval could prove to be an uphill — and perhaps unwinnable — battle.
This relatively small amount will pay to get construction just past the prototype phase. Trump has reportedly scaled back the scope of the project to between 700 and 900 miles, claiming that natural barriers and existing walls and fencing make construction along the entire border unnecessary. Still, costs are still likely too high, with the original DHS estimate at approximately $22 billion.
As for the 18-foot to 30-foot prototypes, which will be built along the San Diego border where wall violations are reportedly the most common, the CBP has estimated the cost of each will be between $200,000 and $500,000. The only other specifics about these samples, which will determine the design of the rest of the wall, is that they are to be difficult to scale, tamper-resistant, pleasing to the eye on the U.S. side and, most recently, transparent to improve visibility and security.
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