DHS Cites Importance Of ‘Aesthetics’ In Border Wall Notice

Christian Torres/AP

The Department of Homeland Security has asked vendors to consider aesthetics in their future proposals for wall prototypes to run along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an amendment to Customs and Border Protection’s initial pre-solicitation notice for wall designs, posted online Friday and flagged by ProPublica Wednesday, DHS specified that it was looking for “concrete wall structures, nominally 30 feet tall, that will meet requirements for aesthetics, anti-climbing, and resistance to tampering or damage.”

The amended request comes out of left field, but for Trump’s multiple campaign-era promises to build a “big, beautiful” wall spanning the border.

The prototype notice specifies that DHS isn’t yet asking for a “total wall solution for the border with Mexico” in their prototype designs. But a separate notice flagged by ProPublica published last Thursday notes that the eventual “long-term strategy” for a wall will necessarily “need to accommodate the entire Southwest Border, which has a quite diverse range of terrain, foliage, population, wildlife, and other features.”

“Exemplar areas of the Southwest Border where we might initiate more extensive construction could include the Rio Grande Valley in the southeast of Texas, the area in and around El Paso, the desert along the Arizona border, and the area south of San Diego, California,” the request for information stated.

Neither notice mentioned what Fox News’ Catherine Herridge described as a “see through” wall in early February.

“They will build it where it is needed first as identified by the men and women who work the border, and then we’ll fill it in as time goes on,” current Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told the network at the time, adding: “Any discussion about the protection of our southwest border involves discussion, clearly, of physical barriers, but also of technological sensors, things like that. It’s a layered approach.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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