U.S. awards contracts for Mexico border wall prototypes

DHS Awards Four Contracts for Border Wall Prototypes

The other vendors selected Thursday were: Caddell Construction Co., Montgomery, Ala.; Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, Texas; W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co.; Philadelphia, Miss.

"Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall", Trump said during his Arizona rally.

The same poll appeared to suggest that support for President Trump was also declining, with 56 per cent of voters believing that the president was "tearing the country apart", compared to 33 per cent who said he was pulling the country together. There were two requests for proposals: a 30-foot high concrete wall design and then any other alternatives.

The announcement was made by the US Customs and Border Protection office (CBP), saying the models will be built in the coming months.

The companies given the approval to create the prototypes were among the 200 that submitted designs for a border wall.

Funding for four other prototypes for a see-through structure, a construction method the president has previously endorsed, will be awarded next week.

A Tempe company has been selected as one of the companies that will produce a concrete prototype of the border wall, but it has a bit of a troubled past.

Meanwhile, CBP is already planning to build a 3-mile stretch of border wall through a wildlife refuge in South Texas using its existing funds.

Mr Trump initially vowed to make Mexico pay for the wall but Mexico refused.

This process is not a competition for a victor to build the wall along the border, but rather a way for CBP to evaluate what the agency needs and what kinds of innovation industry can offer, said a CBP official. Another bidding process would ensue if funding is approved for the wall itself.

Trump's 2018 budget calls for $2.6 billion for "high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology". A seamless wall is also unrealistic because of global treaty and flood zone requirements.

Concrete material will potentially be used for the secondary wall, not the primary wall, according to CBP plans.

Above: A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle drives along the U.S. -Mexico border fence near Yuma, Ariz., as seen from the outskirts of San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, in 2010.

Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and human rights director of Alliance San Diego, said building a border wall would come at the expense of upgrading the outdated ports of entry.

The four contracts are worth up to $500,000 (£387,000) each. The Senate hasn't taken up the measure, prompting Trump last month to threaten a government shutdown if lawmakers refuse to send him a spending bill that funds the wall.

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