US plans to construct up to 8 border wall prototypes this summer

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency implementing the border wall construction process, is planning for the construction of four to eight wall prototypes in San Diego “later this summer,” said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello Tuesday.

“We’re leaning on industry to innovate and to use other materials to show us what they think is possible, doable and innovative for this purpose,” said Vitiello.

CBP has entered “phase two” of the process, and is currently reviewing and evaluating proposals for wall prototypes, but no contracts have been awarded yet. On March 17, CBP issued two separate requests for proposals from companies for wall prototypes — one for “reinforced concrete” and one for “alternative materials.”

“Although this acquisition is still underway, we plan to start building the prototypes in San Diego later this summer,” said Vitiello.

A CBP draft briefing to Congress had previously stated June as an intended start date for prototype construction, but in recent weeks the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, has said “summer.”

Vitiello said that at this time it’s “hard to nail down” an exact date to start construction.

President Donald Trump‘s January executive order on border security called for the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border,” a goal that the president reiterated throughout his campaign.

“Any and all prototypes will be designed to deter illegal entry into the United States,” said Vitiello said.

Last week, Trump touted a solar-paneled border wall before a campaign crowd in Iowa, calling it “my idea.”

“And we’re thinking of something that’s unique. We’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself,” Trump said to the cheering audience.

However, back in April when Department of Homeland Security was reviewing bids for the wall project, at…

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