Images of the first prototypes for President Donald Trump’s controversial proposed border wall between the US and Mexico have been released.
Construction of the eight prototypes was completed in October and Trump visited the site in San Diego, California earlier this month. The President signed an executive order in January last year to build a 3,200km wall along the borner between the United States and Mexico.
The presidential executive order states that “the Department of Homeland Security Secretary shall take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”
However, the future of the project was in doubt last week when Trump failed to include it in $1.3 trillion (£1trillion) spending bill he signed, according to the New York Post. It provided £1.2bn for wall construction but limited funds to beefing up existing border defences, the newspaper said.
The prototypes will be evaluated for their anti-breaching capabilities, anti-climbing capabilities, anti-digging capabilities, impedance and denial of traffic and whether it is safe for border patrol agents, the US Customs and Border Protection said.
Design requirements say is prototypes must be made from reinforced concrete and at least 5.5m high, but ideally around 9m. It should be “physically imposing” in height and be impossible to climb over. On top there will be anti-climb features to prevent the use of aids such as grappling hooks. In addition, the wall should prevent excavation of tunnels up to 1.8M below it and should accommodate surface drainage. It must also be possible to construct it on a slope of 45% and walls should be thick enough to withstand an attack by sledgehammer.
“Border security contributes to our overall national security and relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, personnel, and partnerships,” said acting deputy commissioner Ron Vitielle. “Border walls have proven to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal migration of people and drugs over the years.
“Specifically, walls are part of a border enforcement zone, which includes patrol roads, lights and surveillance technology.
“These border enforcement zones give our men and women of CBP the best possible conditions to maintain a safe and secure border.”
The contracts to construct the prototypes went to Caddell Construction Company, Fisher Sand & Gravel Company, Texas Sterling Construction Company, WG Yates & Sons Construction Company, KWR Construction, and ELTA North America.