The contract awards for the construction of new border wall have been delayed until October by a contractor who has publicly opposed President Donald Trump’s immigration reforms.
Planned contract awards to build six to eight sets of prototype walls were protested by a losing bidder, the Texas-based Penna Group company. The protest is being adjudicated by the Government Accountability Office, with a resolution deadline of October 4.
“Such protests are common in Federal contracting processes and no contracts may be awarded until the protests are resolved,” the DHS’s United States Customs and Border Protection agency told Breitbart News. The agency continued:
By statute, GAO is required to issue a decision on a protest within 100 days of filing. CBP expects GAO’s decision on these protests in early October 2017, which would delay construction to late October or early November, which is beyond our original summer 2017 timeline. CBP could resume contract consideration if the protest is resolved sooner.
CBP is updating the expected timeline of contract award and construction to allow for immediate resumption of the acquisition process based on GAO’s decision. CBP will continue to take steps to implement the President’s Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (EO 13767) to ensure operational control of the border.
The protest was filed by executives at the Penna Group group, based in Texas. The company did not respond to Breitbart News.
Congress has appropriated funds for the construction of 46 miles of barriers in 2017. The money can also be used in 2018, so the contract dispute delay won’t stop the planned construction. The House has approved another $1.6 billion in 2018. If matched by the Senate, those funds will add another 62 miles of border wall, and help prepare for additional construction.
During the last several months, the company’s CEO has ridiculed Trump’s immigration reforms and the border wall, which would provide a symbolic and concrete barrier between low-wage employers in Democratic-run cities and the world’s bottomless supply of cheap labor.
“We wanted to make sure that a company that had compassion for immigrants was one of the companies putting in one of the designs,” CEO Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga told the Guardian newspaper. The newspaper added:
“The story isn’t, ‘Hey there’s a Latino guy building a wall to keep other Latino people out,” said Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, CEO of the Penna Group in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s that we need comprehensive immigration reform.” …
The CEO, who said that he was one of the earliest participants in Occupy Wall Street in New York City, hoped that the wall would “give the American people the appetite to have comprehensive immigration reform”, which is his main priority.
The CEO described his grandiose design to the Huffington Post:
Evangelista-Ysasaga says he decided to throw his hat in the bidding ring. “We wanted to propose a more humane obstruction,” he expressed. “I didn’t want to have to wake up on a Sunday morning and read a story about a family getting killed trying to cross the border.”
PennaGroup’s vision is catered to fit CBP’s basic demands, delivering two relatively straightforward walls with a hint of patriotic flair. The first option is titled a “Solid, Concrete Border Wall,” featuring black wall panels emblazoned with the seal of the United States in recessed concrete and connected with highly polished steel beams.
Then there’s the “Other Border Wall” ― constructed from polished, double wire mesh panels, with a six-foot tall anti-climb cap, also emblazoned with a seal. The cap, PennaGroup’s technical team explained in an email to HuffPost, was designed with neoclassical architecture influences in mind, including the federal and Greek revival styles that inspired 18th- and 19th-century design in Washington, D.C. These architectural details, however, would only adorn the side of the wall that faces America.
Trump is preparing a proposal to reform the nation’s cheap-labor immigration system into “merit-based” immigration system. The merit-based system is intended to increase Americans’ productivity and wealth while reducing the inflow of low-skilled relatives of recent immigrants.
Progressive Democrats, pro-corporate GOP leaders, and corporate CEOs oppose Trump’s popular plan, which would reduce the inflow of wage-reducing labor, pressure companies to increase pay and training for young and older Americans workers, and to promote investment in labor-saving machinery.