Department of Homeland Security to accept submissions for US-Mexico Border Wall

Image Courtesy Wikimedia Images / © Tomas Castelazo

For architects always eager to "stand ready" with President Donald Trump's commitment to build new infrastructure works, here's your chance: The US Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Bureau Issued a "solicitation" President of the controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The solicitation, posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website on February 24, states:

The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends to issue an electronic solicitation on or about 6 March 2017 for the design and construction of several prototypes of wall structures in the vicinity of Border with Mexico. The procurement process will be carried out in two stages, the first requiring suppliers to submit a concept document of their prototype by 10 March 2017, which will result in the evaluation and selection of bidders by 20 March 2017. The second phase will require Phase 1 bidders to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include the award. Several awards are expected in mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles can be included in each contract award.

The solicitation was launched on the same day that the president, speaking at the annual Conservative Political Congress (CPAC) forum, said the progress on the wall was "much, well ahead of schedule" and just two weeks After the administration began a heavy crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the country. As a candidate for the presidency, Donald Trump fueled his candidacy with striking anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, promising to forcibly deport the some 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. It seems now that President Trump, having blurred the deployment of the travel ban of the administration against seven predominantly Muslim countries, turns to immigrants in this country to fulfill these campaign promises.

This new direction will certainly revitalize the debate within the architectural profession about the adoption by individuals and organizations of these so-called infrastructure projects. Following the hullabaloo travel ban, the American Institute of Architects issued a statement in support of immigration and international travel. However, the organization remains silent on the issue of the proposed border wall and on other building-related issues that the administration is currently pursuing, such as the increased use of private prisons for federal detentions, including deportation measures.

Media reported that the private penitentiary industry is seeking to profit generously from the newly relaxed regulations against these facilities under the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Their use should be considerably expanded as part of a directive instructing CBP to expand its detention capacities from approximately 34,000 prisoners today to more than 80,000 prisoners in the near future. The monetary costs for the border wall vary considerably, rising from $ 12 billion to $ 15 billion, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. CBP recently issued an internal note setting the cost of the wall at nearly $ 21.5 billion.

Whatever the cost, the lack of leadership and activism on the part of professional construction organizations is palpable.