The Trump border wall, one of the cornerstone campaign promises in Donald Trump’s run for the presidency, is moving into a new stage of its development.
The Trump administration has officially started its search for proposals on the construction of the border wall from contractors, with a demand that the wall prove “physically imposing” to anyone considering trying to illegally enter the United States from its southern border with Mexico, leading to some jokes from Twitter users.
ITEM: Government seeks designs for 'physically imposing' border wall pic.twitter.com/2iqUYxMv41— Schooley (@Rschooley) March 18, 2017
The White House made the request after Trump revealed his first budget proposal on Thursday. The plan includes a provisional budget for the planning and construction of the Trump border wall, the New York Times reported. The proposal has earmarked $2.6 billion for the wall. That includes planning, designing, and building the barrier, with the $2.6 billion apparently going towards “tactical infrastructure” and more security measures at the border. That likely would not cover the full cost of the wall, which is estimated between $10 billion and $25 billion.
The administration’s call for border wall proposals revealed some details about what Trump officials want it to include. Other than features aimed at stopping people climbing the wall or tunneling underneath it, the request stipulates the height and types of materials to be used in the border wall’s construction. The Trump administration also included plans in the proposal for the border wall to be pleasing on the eye.
The request stipulates that the border wall should ideally be 30 feet tall, but may be receptive to designs with a lower height. Customs and Border Protection said in the proposal documents that the wall should not be lower than 18 feet.
The Trump administration also demands that the Trump border wall should prevent people from using handholds, grappling hooks, or ladders to climb the wall. It also wants those making proposals to ensure that they include plans to prevent people tunneling or digging at least six feet under the wall.
The request says that for at least 30 minutes (though ideally for more than four hours), the border wall should be able to resist attempts to make holes in it with a “sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.”
The request is seeking proposals for two border wall types, one of which is made of reinforced concrete with that “physically imposing” attribute. Officials suggested a non-concrete border wall would be considered as well, perhaps one that could feature “a see-through component” to allow Border Patrol to have “situational awareness” of the Mexican side of the border.
However, Americans living close to the Trump border wall should be able to see something a little nicer than a colossal monstrosity from their bedroom windows, according to officials.
The documents stipulate that the wall should be “pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc.,” and should be “consistent with general surrounding environment.” The documents don’t stipulate how the wall should appear from its Mexican side, suggesting Trump doesn’t care so much about the border wall’s aesthetic for those south of the border. It should come as no surprise that Twitter wits had something to say about that aspect of the wall too.
Well, on the bright side at least there would be some pretty killer artwork on that Mexican border wall. pic.twitter.com/Qfc8LT8bun— Jan Villalon (@jan_villalon) January 26, 2017
Those who want to send proposals for how they would build the wall have two weeks to submit their plans.
The Trump border wall, of course, is a critical aspect of the president’s plan to stop people from entering the United States illegally and/or without documentation. The budget proposal includes a $314 million provision to recruit and train 500 Border Patrol and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents next year. The Trump administration plans to eventually bring in 5,000 new Border Patrol officers and add 10,000 special agents to ICE’s ranks.
Meanwhile, the budget proposal earmarks $1.5 billion to build more detention centers for immigrants without documentation and to pay for their removal from the United States.
A committee will select up to 20 border wall proposals to move to the next stage of the process. Ultimately, there will be construction of 30-foot-long prototypes of the wall, costing between $200,000 and $500,000, while contractors will build 10-foot models for penetration tests.
In any case, it will be years before we see the completion of any potential Trump border wall.