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Federal Records Show Trump’s Border Wall Costing Billions Extra

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

On the same day in May 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a pair of contracts worth $788 million to replace 83 miles of fence along the southwest border.

The projects were slated to be completed in January 2020, the Corps said then. Four months into this year, however, the government increased the value of the contracts by more than $1 billion, without the benefit of competitive bidding designed to keep costs low to taxpayers.

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New Engineering Report Warns Privately Funded Border Wall Will Fall

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

It's not a matter of if a privately built border fence along the shores of the Rio Grande will fail, it's a matter of when, according to a new engineering report on the troubled project.

The report is one of two new studies set to be filed in federal court this week that found numerous deficiencies in the 3-mile border fence, built this year by North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel. The reports confirm earlier reporting from ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, which found that segments of the structure were in danger of overturning due to extensive erosion if not fixed and properly maintained. Fisher dismissed the concerns as normal post-construction issues.

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Hispanic Residents Bear The Brunt Of Virus Toll In Texas

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

This article is co-published with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom that informs and engages with Texans. Sign up for The Brief weekly to get up to speed on their essential coverage of Texas issues. It was also produced in partnership with NBC News.

HOUSTON — Two weeks after Valery Martinez's 41-year-old cousin was rushed to a hospital with severe symptoms of COVID-19, Martinez wrote a post on Facebook, thanking the doctors and nurses at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Houston who were working to save him.

“You are the real heroes putting your life on the line in this difficult time," Martinez wrote. “May God continue to cover and protect you and your families."

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If Trump ‘Disagreed’ With Private Border Wall, Why Did He Award Its Builder Big Contracts?

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

President Donald Trump complained via Twitter on Sunday that a privately constructed border wall in Texas was a bad idea and poorly done — not mentioning that his administration has awarded the builder a $1.7 billion contract to build more walls.

With the backing of Trump supporters, Tommy Fisher built a 3-mile border fence along the Rio Grande, calling it the “Lamborghini" of fences. But just months after completion of his showcase piece directly on the banks of the river, there are signs of erosion along and under the fence that threatens its stability and could cause it to topple into the river if not fixed, experts told ProPublica and The Texas Tribune.

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Eroding Private Border Wall Will Get Inspection Just Months After Completion

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

The builder of a privately funded border wall along the shores of the Rio Grande agreed to an engineering inspection of his controversial structure, which experts say is showing signs of erosion that threatens its stability just months after the $42 million project was finished.

Tommy Fisher, president of North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, had bragged he could build faster and smarter than the federal government, calling his wall design method a “Lamborghini," compared with the government's “horse and buggy."

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Privately Funded Border Wall May Soon Collapse

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

Tommy Fisher billed his new privately funded border wall as the future of deterrence, a quick-to-build steel fortress that spans 3 miles in one of the busiest Border Patrol sectors.

Unlike a generation of wall builders before him, he said he figured out how to build a structure directly on the banks of the Rio Grande, a risky but potentially game-changing step when it came to the nation's border wall system.

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Houston Officials Knew Virus Would Spread But Went Ahead With Rodeo

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Days before the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicked off, area politicians celebrated this great piece of Americana — dubbed the world's largest livestock show — which was going forward in the age of the coronavirus.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a 29-year-old rising political star, posted on Facebook on Feb. 28 how “pumped" she was for rodeo season, sharing a list of her favorite songs. “Look forward to seeing y'all there! #RodeoHouston."

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