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Border wall should be 'a piece of art' said one SD contract bidder

Bidders for the federal contract to build the Mexican border wall have many high-concept and artistic ideas.
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Bids by companies for a federal contract to build the president’s order to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico ended on Tuesday and some companies are taking a bit of a whimsical approach.

The Associated Press is reporting that one bidder would like to cover the barricade with solar panels while another wants to add a deck so tourists can admire the scenic views of the desert.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection refused to provide a list of bidders or how many applied. This is a standard practice in government contracting.

They are expected to announce in June which companies will be hired to build prototypes.

There are certain aspects that must be incorporated into each design: the wall should be able to withstand pickaxes and sledgehammers for at least an hour.

Each design must have aesthetic appeal on the north side.  

The construction of the wall has invigorated many protest groups who think the idea frames Mexicans as “foreign invaders.”

Some Mexican companies are also showing interest in constructing the partition, and that has some Mexican officials saying they are betraying their country.

"This isn't the kind of project that you'd want to put in your portfolio,” said Gene Grabowski, a partner in kglobal, a Washington public-relations firm. "Unlike a dam or bridge, this is one where the risk of being associated with the political philosophy of the administration can be damaging to current and future business."

San Diego based Concrete Contractors Interstate (CCI) has placed their bid, saying they would like to augment the wall with stones and artifacts in certain sections of the 2,000 mile-long structure. ,

"The idea is to make the wall a piece of art," said Russ Baumgartner,CCI chief executive officer.

Thomas Gleason of Gleason Partners LLC in Las Vegas says the wall should be environmentally useful, "For the younger generation, they say if there is going to be a wall, let's have it be green.”

Companies throwing their hat into the ring must have worked on border security within the past five years with a cost of $25 million or more.

Under anonymity, one U.S. official said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes in San Diego which equal $200,000 to $500,000 each.

These original models will be constructed on a quarter-mile strip of federally owned San Diego property within 120-feet of the border.

The Border Patrol are expecting protestors and will establish a buffer zone to allow people to express their constitutional right to free speech.

Mexico to U.S. illegal immigration and arrests have dropped last month according to the head of Homeland Security.

John Kelly said in a written testimony that fewer than 12,500 people were caught illegally crossing the border last month.

That number is in drastic contrast to the 43,000 detained in February. It’s the lowest numbers documented in nearly two decades.

More than 200 “interested vendors” are listed on a government site for contractors, however it is unclear how many of those businesses made a bid. It is also unclear how many companies made bids that so not appear on the list.