The Trump 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 Secretary 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 physical 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 actually telling us, border control’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.