Wall Street Journal
By Dudley Althaus
March 30, 2017
MEXICO CITY—The Trump administration’s plan to build a wall along the U.S. southern border has sparked an outcry here—and a warning to Mexican businesses that might consider profiting from the venture, as a deadline to submit initial bids approaches.
In an editorial Sunday published in its newspaper, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City condemned the wall, saying that any Mexican company taking part in its construction was immoral and would be betraying its patriotic duty to the nation.
Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who has said Mexico won’t pay for the wall, called on Mexican companies tempted to bid on the project to “examine their consciences.”
Earlier this month, the chairman of Mexico’s largest cement company, Cemex, caused a stir when he told a Mexican newspaper that it would “gladly” provide estimates for supplying cement to companies working on the wall. A Cemex spokesman said this week it wouldn’t be involved in the bidding process.
The lone Mexican company that plans to submit a proposal for the wall, Ecovelocity, a small family business, hopes to supply lighting to companies working on the Mexican side of the border.
Company owner Theodore Atalla, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Egyptian-Greek heritage who has been living in Mexico the past few years, said he envisions working as a subcontractor for a larger Mexican company that he believes will eventually participate in the wall’s construction.
Mr. Atalla said he remains undaunted by criticism received on social media, including being called a traitor to Mexico.
“I’m almost 100% sure that other Mexican companies will be involved,” he said. “We’re not trying to act against Mexico. We’re just trying to help our little company.”
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