US-Mexico border wall: Construction of prototypes begins
Even as Congressional funding for Trump's border wall remains a question mark, it may go up (for real) soon. The US government recently announced that the construction of 8 different prototypes for the wall has begun. While 4 of these will be made of concrete, the other 4 will be made out of "alternate/other materials." These are being built in San Diego, California.
US President Donald Trump proposed to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful" southern border wall at the US-Mexico border, to keep illegal immigrants out. Congress has so far refused to fund the construction of the wall which is estimated to cost $22 billion.
Each prototype will be of the size 30 feet x 30 feet and is estimated to cost up to $450,000. These are being built in Otay Mesa, one of the three entry points from Tijuana (Mexico) to San Diego (California). According to the Customs and Border Protection Agency, "the prototypes will inform future design standards which can evolve to meet the border patrol's requirements."
Trump had earlier suggested that sections of the wall would be kept transparent in order to prevent bags and drug consignments being tossed over from the Mexican side. He had also suggested that parts of the wall be covered in solar panels.
The prototypes are scheduled to be completed in 30 days. Afterwards, officials plan on spending about 3 months testing the wall's resistance to penetration, tampering, and scaling using small hand tools. Features such as cable conduits, cameras, and sensors are also being planned for the actual wall. The final wall will involve an amalgamation of various design features from the prototypes.
Congress is unlikely to approve funding for the wall before the October 1 deadline. An equally stubborn Trump has vowed to move ahead and has even threatened to close down the US government to do so. Meanwhile, the Attorney General of California has moved to the court to block construction. A clearer picture on the wall's fate will emerge soon.