U.S. government officials announced on October 26 that they had completed eight prototypes of the proposed border wall with Mexico. The prototypes will stand on a small patch of the Otay Mesa in southern San Diego County.
“We are going to look at everything that is reflected here, and then put out a new design standard for the immediate border barrier and the secondary barrier,” said Ron Vitiello, acting-deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Protection.
The eight prototypes will now enter a 30 to 60 day test period, during which teams will test them for durability and quality. “Can it be climbed, can it be dug under, can it withstand cutting tools?” explained Vitiello.
The prototypes, built by eight different contractors, serve as components of what will be a larger wall set behind a 50-foot electronically-monitored zone, which will end at a transparent barrier along the actual border. Each component is 18 to 30 feet high. Four are built from concrete and four from other materials.
Vitiello claimed that he sees the wall as a step in the right direction. “Border security contributes to our overall national security and relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, personnel, and partnerships,” he said. He then continued, saying, “border walls have proven to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal migration of people and drugs over the years.”
While Vitiello remains optimistic, the future of the wall remains unclear due to funding issues. The prototypes each cost $500,000 and used-up the only funding appropriated for the project so far.
White House officials have projected the entire wall project will cost up to $12 billion, despite declining rates of undocumented immigration. As Vitiello puts it, “It will be be expensive.”