DHS Proposes ‘Private Party Construction’ of Border Wall

EL PASO, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 12: People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. U.S. President Donald Trump visited the border city yesterday as he continues to campaign for more wall to be built along the border. Democrats in Congress are asking …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security is asking companies if they would like to build stretches of the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The proposal may result in the fast-track construction of border walls by teams of private contractors, likely aided by government lawyers who can quickly settle legal disputes over environmental claims.

Once President Donald Trump focused his attention on the problem in February 2019, he declared a national emergency and transferred billions of Pentagon dollars for construction. So far, almost 200 miles of border wall have been upgraded, but only a few miles of border wall have been built in areas where there were no barriers. Officials are rushing to build — or sign contracts for — roughly 450 miles by the end of 2020.

The “Private Party Construction” proposal was quietly announced May 29 by DHS’s Customs and Border Protection agency:

CBP recognizes that private entities and non-governmental organizations also have an interest in supporting the mission of border protection, by deploying private wall solutions. Mainly, those parties that can arrange private financing, and private acquisition of land may have an interest in devising a wall structure that is consistent with government specifications.

The proposal did not say if the companies would be repaid by the government for building a border barrier through deserts, scrub, and rocks. 

The proposal listed 30 sections of the border wall that need to be completed, including:

  • San Diego primary barrier project (~3 miles) — New primary located in a rural environment with A-1 legacy barrier located to the West.  This is flat, low-lying valley terrain.
  • Tucson secondary project (~25 miles) — New secondary located in both urban and rural environments. This would complement existing primary barrier.  The terrain varies here from flat urban areas to rocky and mountainous.   
  • El Paso secondary project (~47.92 miles) — New secondary located in a remote environment. This would close gaps where there are temporary Normandy barriers.  The terrain varying from flat plains to very mountainous.
  • Del Rio primary pedestrian replacement project (~.26 miles) — New primary pedestrian located in both urban and rural environments.  This would complement existing PF225 legacy primary barrier to the east.  The terrain is relatively flat.
  • Del Rio primary pedestrian project (~.03 miles) — New primary pedestrian located in both urban and rural environments. This area is currently devoid of existing barrier.  The terrain is relatively flat.

The proposal invited bids from “outside parties with the appropriate resources, certification, conforming to relevant environmental and building regulations may have the technical capacity, and engineering competency to develop the border wall on private or public property.”

However, the idea is at a very early stage. “No funds have been authorized, appropriated, or received for this effort. CBP may use the responses to inform its development of future border wall infrastructure requirements,” the proposal said. 

The proposal also asked companies to provide ideas that can help frustrate the drug smugglers, migrants, and coyotes as they try to get into the United States by cutting through, climbing over, and tunneling under the wall:

Technology Innovation that could be incorporated into the wall that would contribute to border security and Border Patrol Agent safety including but not limited to, sensors, cameras, or other ideas that would provide early warning on climbing or breaching attempts. Are there opportunities for cross-pollination to be gleaned from other areas of wall technology (sensors, cameras, artificial intelligence) to improve detection and complement the anti-climb and anti-cut features of your design? Example:  Advanced paint technology that would enhance ability of thermal sensors to recognize wall jumpers and improve detection.

Since 2018, Trump and his deputies have effectively blocked semi-legal migration of blue-collar migrants through Mexico. That flow reached almost one million in 2019 but is now down to a few thousand migrants per month.

Trump accomplished the huge task by pressuring Mexico to crack down on migration and to accept the return of migrants pending their court hearings in the United States. Trump also pressured Latin American countries to accept migrants who hoped to get into the United States. The agencies shifted their asylum procedures, accelerated courtroom processing, and scheduled flights to quickly return migrants to Central American countries.

Trump and his deputies have also blocked the huge pipeline of supposedly “Unaccompanied Alien Children” from Central American to their waiting illegal-immigrant parents throughout the United States. This success means that migrants can no longer bring their children with them into the United States. The pipeline was created by President Barack Obama, and it moved roughly 500,000 Central American youths and children into the United States after 2008.

The border wall helps Trump’s legal and diplomatic actions. It delays and sometimes stops the movement of illegal migrants, especially of families, as well as drugs. The delays give the border agencies more time to intercept the migrants and smuggler if they cross the few hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile border.

However, Trump and his deputies have done little to block the legal movement of white-collar migrants through U.S. airports into the high-wage Fortune 500 jobs needed by U.S. graduates.

The Fortune 500 worker pipeline is being kept open by pro-business advocates at the White House.

The pipeline was gradually created to move compliant and cheap foreign workers into the good jobs that are needed by skilled and innovative American graduates. It keeps at least 1.3 million foreign workers in good jobs, so boosting stock market prices and also reducing the creation of rival companies.

But the pipeline sucks wealth and jobs from heartland states and makes it difficult for millions of young Americans to launch themselves into a professional career. The resulting anger is helping to fuel the wave of protests and riots triggered by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

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