Feds announce $43 million earmarked for three miles of border wall in Texas

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
By Paul Martin

John Moritz,
May 29, 2019

Federal authorities say the project will help impede illegal border crossings and drug smuggling.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — About three miles of border wall in Starr County, Texas, is expected to go under construction in August under a $42.8 million contract announced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The project will take place on unspecified federally owned land and will be spearheaded by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. The barrier will be constructed with vertical steel bollards ranging from about 18 feet to 30 feet tall, the agency said.

It will not be in the form of a concrete wall, often touted by President Donald Trump dating back to the 2016 campaign for the White House.

The contract, announced Tuesday, will be paid from money appropriated during the fiscal 2019 budget cycle, but it is not part of the national emergency declared by Trump in response to the surge in people arriving at the nation’s southern border.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. of California issued an order blocking the president from using $1 billion from the Defense Department budget for wall construction. The order, which the White House signaled would be appealed, did not prevent the use of other federal funding sources for the wall project.

“Border wall construction will not take place at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or the National Butterfly Center,” Customs and Border Protection said in a statement, citing language in the legislation that ended the wall-related government shutdown early this year.

The agency “continues to take steps to expeditiously plan, design, and construct a physical wall using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve operational control of the southern border,” the statement said.

The construction will take place in Rio Grande City, about 40 miles west of McAllen.

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