The United States government on Saturday called for proposals to build a “physically imposing” wall along its border with Mexico, Reuters reported on Saturday. The announcement follows US President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for the construction of a border wall, which is estimated to cost $2.6 billion (around Rs 17,064 crore), on “tactical infrastructure”, and other security technology at the border.
The Trump administration has asked companies pitching to build the wall to ensure that their plans comply with the US Department of Homeland Security’s criteria regarding the materials that need to be used, height and other aesthetics. The government wants the structure to have “anti-climbing features and provisions to prevent tunneling underneath it”.
“The north side of wall [the US facing side] shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, have an anti-climb texture, etc, to be consistent with the general surrounding environment,” the proposal said. The request from the Customs and Border Protection Department called for a 30-ft-high wall, but said that plans to build a wall minimum 18 ft in height may be acceptable.
Trump’s budget also aims to use $314 million to recruit and train 500 new border patrol agents and 1,000 immigration and customs enforcement personnel in 2018. The administration plans to increase the number of border patrol agents to 5,000 and immigration and customs enforcement staff to 10,000, in addition to spending $1.5 billion to set up detention centres for undocumented immigrants.
The US president’s election campaign proposal for the border wall and his suggestion that Mexico pay for part of the construction drew criticism from several quarters, including the country’s President Eneique Pena Nieto, who said has maintained that his government will not foot the bill.