Past Features

October 24, 2017

Final wall prototypes:
"Houston, we have a problem"

Left: One of eight Trump Wall finalists - Guillermo Arias / AFP - Getty Images
Right: Kiewit Construction builds fence along border at ABP's ranch - Photo by Glenn Spencer
NBC News -- October 23, 2017
See All 8 Prototypes for Trump's 'Big, Beautiful' Border Wall
 The future of President Donald Trump's promised border wall lies in massive pieces in the California desert.
    NBC News got an early look at the eight nearly-finished prototypes, assembled near the existing fence along the U.S.-Mexico border miles outside San Diego, ahead of Thursday's deadline for the sections to be completed.
    Four of the prototypes are made from concrete and are competing for the chance to be used for the concrete portions of the wall.
    The other four prototypes are made from non-concrete materials that are competing to be used for the stretches of barrier that can be seen through.
    All are between 18 and 30 feet high. [...]
    Even bigger questions, however, surround whether a massive wall would be effective.
    Villareal acknowledged “It's hard to gauge” whether a massive wall would cut historically-low apprehensions along the border.
    “There's always going to be some form of crime, or in this case, illegal migration,” he said.

Glenn Spencer -- October 24, 2017
Trump Wall bids --- start over and do it right
   If President Trump had to pick a winner from the eight prototypes erected near San Diego --- and he doesn't - his criteria that the wall be see-through would limit his selection to two with that feature. Of those two, I would pick this one.
    But the president could pick any one --- or none. CBP could actually open up the competition again. After all, the contractors bid for funding to build a prototype --- not to build an actual border wall.
    But there is another problem. The “Wall” I would pick is very similar to the fence built along American Border Patrol's ranch nine years ago, but the contractor who build that fence, Kiewit Construction, did not bid on the Trump Wall because of threats by California cities.
    I am not a lawyer, but I cannot imagine that a city council should be allowed to use coercion against a contractor --- thus depriving America of the best possible border security system.
    As reported by USA Today: "....the border wall bidding process was rushed, and qualified candidates may have been overlooked for the sake of speed.”
    If we are going to build a “wall” on the border, America must do so in the best and smartest way it can. We cannot allow radical city councils to dictate which contractors we can use, and we should not rush into a project without thinking it through.
    I don't blame President Trump: He was dealing with the bureaucrats he was handed. He has enough experience with them now, however, to understand he has to start over --- with different bureaucrats.
    A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said “It's hard to gauge” whether a massive wall would cut historically-low apprehensions along the border. It may be hard, but it should be done.
    President Trump should start right now to build an inexpensive virtual wall so we can know where the wall is needed most --- and how it does when built.
    I happen to know a guy who knows how it could be done.