Construction begins on 8 border wall prototypes! Trump stirs pot with ‘unconventional’ ideas

President Trump’s border wall with Mexico is another step closer to reality as construction has begun on prototypes.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released video and a press release Tuesday announcing that six contractors have began work in San Diego on eight prototypes of Trump’s proposed border.

Four of the prototypes will be made of concrete, and the other four will be constructed of alternate or “other materials,” according to the CBP. All will be between 18-30 feet high and “designed to deter illegal crossings.”

“We are committed to securing our border and that includes constructing border walls. Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology and people, Ronald Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said. “Moving forward with the prototypes enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border.”

They are expected to be completed in a month under tight security as the agency braces for expected protests, the San Deigo Union-Tribune reported. San Diego police officers and county sheriff’s deputies joined Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, the Federal Protection Service and California Highway Patrol in the area in anticipation of any incidents.

The county Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance Tuesday to give the county the power to create “Temporary Area Restrictions” prohibiting knives, sticks, bats, pepper spray, bricks, and other possible weapons, according to the Union-Tribune.

CBP will select a winning design from the eight prototypes once construction is completed. Todd J. Gillman of the Dallas Morning News reported that President Trump may be the one to pick the winner himself.

“I’m going to go out and look at them personally and pick the right one,” Trump said at an Alabama rally last week. The president had also expressed his desire for the border wall to be “see-through.”

After his remarks, questions arose about his authority to pick the winner from the prototypes.

“It’s unconventional, but it’s a hard argument to make that he couldn’t do that if he wanted to,” said Steven Schooner, co-director of the Government Procurement Law Program at George Washington University’s school of law. “All contracting authority flows through the president. The president delegates it to the heads of agencies.”

Even though those decisions are delegated out, the authority ultimately belongs to the executive branch. But some government contracting experts think the president should not be involved in choosing the winner.

“Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,” Laura Peterson from the watchdog group, Project on Government Oversight, said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “President Trump should not be involved in picking winners and losers for any contracts.”

She argued that the wall is “too political” and Trump should let contractors “do their job.”

“Taxpayers will be stuck holding a huge bill for the wall,” she said,  “and that should be based on a valid selection process and merit, not campaign promises.”

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Frieda Powers

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