San Diego, California. USA. Sept 26: U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that after months of competition and preparation, contractors broke ground today, Tuesday, on eight prototypes for President Donald Trump’s long promised border wall. The companies would have about 30 days to complete construction on their prototypes in San Diego. Once built, Trump Border Wall prototypes will undergo testing by the Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s acting deputy commissioner, Ronald Vitiello, said in a statement Tuesday:
“We are committed to securing our border and that includes constructing border walls. Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology and people. Moving forward with the prototype enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border.”
Construction on 8 wall prototypes began today in San Diego. The prototypes are designed to deter illegal border crossings. (1/2)
Six contractors from across the country have been selected to build the eight prototypes, half of which will be constructed of concrete and the other half of “other materials.” The walls are to range between 18 and 30 feet high and succeed in one prevailing goal: “deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.”
And all the while, officials are preparing for a fair share of protests against the controversial project. Miles of fencing have been put up in San Diego’s Otay Mesa region — a checkerboard of public and private land ownership” where the prototypes are to be built — and no-parking zones will be in effect through Nov. 10.
The free speech area designated for potential protesters is a dusty, unshaded, weed-choked lot overlooking Otay Mesa and more than 1.5 miles away from construction. That said there appeared to be no protesters around as construction kicked off Tuesday, and at least one local activist expressed skepticism the project was even worth protesting at the moment.
Photo: A Border Patrol vehicle rides beside an already existing portion of the wall along the USA-Mexico border south of San Diego, California.
Donald Trump relented earlier this month on a threat to shut down the federal government if lawmakers failed to approve funds for the wall, striking a deal with Democrats to delay multiple fiscal deadlines with no strings attached. He has also appeared to acknowledge he won’t require border wall funding to be part of a possible deal to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
On the campaign trail and early in his administration, Trump had said repeatedly that Mexico would pay for the wall’s construction — a proposition that has also been repeatedly rejected by Mexican leaders.
Estimates for the cost of the border wall have ranged up to $38 billion. The Department of Homeland Security plans to pay for the construction of the prototypes, which cost up to $500,000 each, with funds reallocated internally from other programs.