As Trump Border Wall Reaches First Deadline, Some Proposals Go Public

In this April 3, 2017 image, Reverend Guy A. Leemhuis, center, of the Holy Faith Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, leads a song in front of the border fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, from San Diego, in San Diego. With bids due Tuesday, April 4, 2017, on the first design contracts, companies are preparing for the worst if they get the potentially lucrative but controversial job. Four to 10 bidders are expected to be asked to build prototypes on a roughly quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally-owned land in San Diego, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because they haven't been made public. The land extends up to 120 feet (37 meters) from the border, raising the possibility of protests on both sides of the border.  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull/AP

Bids for prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall were due to the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, and it appears that many pitches hewed closely to the department’s amended request that wall designs “meet requirements for aesthetics” (at least on the U.S.-facing side).

Though DHS has not made submitted proposals public, a handful of design and construction firms have shared their ideas with news organizations.

Manatts, Inc., the San Diego Union Tribune reported, has proposed offering engraving opportunities as part of a public-private partnership to pay for the wall. (Conan O’Brien proposed as much to the citizens of Mexico last month.) The result would, in effect be, a 2,000-mile engraved memorial to the newly sealed border, according to an image provided to the San Jose Mercury News.

The Meadville Tribune noted that Manatts actually submitted its idea via another company, STS Construction Concepts, because its own employees’ perception of the project “is so negative the board was fearful of a negative impact internally.”

The Chicago Tribune reported on the proposal of Illinois-based Michael Hari, whose wall would feature a Great Wall-style pedestrian walkway atop a 26-foot concrete barrier. Importantly, the paper noted, Hari proposed making the wall 1,500 miles long, not 2,000, and leaving a significant number of U.S. cities to the south of the wall.

The Union Tribune also reported that Las Vegas-based Gleason Partners proposed a wall constituted in part of massive solar panels, in order to recoup some construction costs. And National Consulting Service, according to a document provided to TPM, proposed a wall topped with a monorail.

Another design collective, MADE, also submitted a solar-energy-powered mass transit system to both the Mexican and United States’ governments, according to its website, though without a wall underneath it.

With the group’s “Otra Nation” proposal, it pitched a hyperloop train system to connect a “regenerative open co-nation” made up of parts of the United States and Mexico.

“As an unincorporated organized territory of Mexico and the United States, citizens of both countries have the right to live and work in the nation of Otra,” their proposal reads. “The nation is built on the principles sharing and dignity.”

“Applications for Otra e-citizenship will begin upon selection of 2017-JC-RT-0001 and/or 2017-DHS-OCPO-RFI-0001,” it concludes, referring to the DHS’ solicitation numbers.

This post has been updated.

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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