They faced determined resistance. Political leaders denounced the border fence as wasteful and ineffective. Landowners refused to sell their property for its construction. Environmentalists argued it would slice up habitat for endangered species in one of the most biodiverse regions in the country.
During the campaign, President Donald Trump promised to build a wall across the southern border some 1,000 miles long. The number of miles the president currently has money for: seven. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials delivered the startling news this week at a conference in San Antonio for businesses eager to win contracts for beefing up security along the border.
In the first big test of that pledge, here’s the reality: The Trump administration has opened the doors for firms from Mexico, El Salvador and other free-trade treaty countries to supply big-ticket items for the wall, the barrier along the United States’ southern border that Trump made a centerpiece of his campaign.
Immigration activists are expected to protest construction of the wall, deploying tactics learned during the long, bitter protests over construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The bid calls for companies to hire their own private security contractors to protect their projects.
In a little-noticed update, the Department of Homeland Security now says it wants a wall that will be “nominally 30 feet tall,” and that bids will be judged on “aesthetics,” as well.