The final selection process for President Donald Trump's controversial Mexican border wall has allegedly kicked off, with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol narrowing down the hundreds of design proposals to 20.
According to Foreign Policy, the agency is planning to ask only 20 vendors to hand in a proposal and conduct border site visits. Out of these bids, Customs and Border Patrol will reportedly choose four to eight prototypes for the final design. Carlos Diaz, the Southwest Border Branch Chief, specified the details in the email he sent the newspaper, mentioning the designs and models the government expects to see in the wall.
It has been months since Trump promised that he would build a "better" wall separating Mexico and the United States. During the presidential campaign, he claimed that it would infinitely be "more powerful" than the fences currently marking the southern border. Previously, Trump signed an executive order setting the project in motion. The details may still be vague but according to BBC, based on the original plan, Trump wants a 1,900-mile concrete wall.
Ali F Rhuzkan, a structural engineer from New York, estimated that this would take about 339 million cubic feet of concrete. A project that immense requires billions of dollars, which according to Trump, should be shouldered by the Mexicans. When Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto put his foot down and announced that they would not be spending for it, Trump backpedaled and said that the U.S. taxpayers would have to cover the initial funding, which was said to be around $10 to $12 billion. A study by the Washington Post posited, though, that the whole thing would amount to $25 billion.
Recently, a lawsuit was filed in federal court regarding the environmental and fiscal impact of constructing the border wall. According to Euro News, the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group from Tucson, and Congressman Raul Grijalva submitted a 42-page document detailing how the plan fails to comply with the National Environment Policy Act. An environmental impact study, the appeal claims, must first be conducted by the agencies.