New York Times
By Ron Nixon
March 18, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration late Friday night took the first steps toward fulfilling a campaign promise, requesting proposals to build a “physically imposing” wall on the border with Mexico.
The request follows the release on Thursday of President Trump’s first budget proposal, which includes money to pay for planning and construction of the wall. The budget calls for $2.6 billion to be spent on “tactical infrastructure” and other security technology at the border, including money to plan, design and begin building the wall.
The request for proposals adds further details about the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for the wall, including the kind of construction materials to be used, its height and even plans to make it aesthetically pleasing.
The structure would also have anti-climbing features and would be designed to prevent tunneling underneath it.
The newly released request for proposals calls for two types of border wall prototypes. One proposal is for a wall that would be composed of reinforced concrete and “be physically imposing in height.”
The proposal said the wall should be about 30 feet high, but added that it could be lower in some instances.
“Offerers should consider this height, but designs with heights of at least 18 feet may be acceptable,” the proposal documents said. “Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable.”
The request from Customs and Border Protection also said that vendors should submit wall designs that make it essentially impossible for a person to climb or gain access with a ladder.
“The wall design shall include anti-climb topping features that prevent scaling using common and more sophisticated climbing aids (e.g. grappling hooks, handholds, etc.),” the agency said in the proposal request.
To address concerns that drug cartels or others may dig tunnels under the wall, the proposals ask for designs that “prevent digging or tunneling below it for a minimum of six feet below the lowest adjacent grade.”
Despite the desire to make the wall imposing, Homeland Security officials also want to ensure that the structure is not too hard on the eyes, at least from the American side.
“The north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment,” the proposal said.
The border wall is part of Mr. Trump’s larger plans to crack down on illegal entry into the country.
His proposed budget allocates $314 million to hire and train 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel next year.
The administration ultimately wants 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 I.C.E. special agents.
An additional $1.5 billion in the budget proposal would pay to build new detention centers for undocumented immigrants and to fund their removal from the country.
A version of this article appears in print on March 19, 2017, on Page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Seeks Proposals for Wall With Mexico.
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