They were a sign of President Donald Trump’s commitment to keeping a campaign promise. Months into his presidency, the Trump Administration announced a competition for the border wall design. Eight entrants were permitted to build prototypes from which the barrier on the southern border would be built. For over a year, they have stood sentinel in the desert outside of San Diego, California, and now they are being demolished to prepare the area for its permanent barrier wall.
For Trump’s allies, the towering models were a show of his commitment to border security and making good on a core campaign promise. For detractors, they were monuments to wasted taxpayer dollars and a misguided display of aggression toward Mexico and immigrants seeking a new home in the United States.
Within about two hours, a hydraulic jackhammer on an excavator leveled seven prototypes. Concrete slabs crashed in small clouds of dust, steel panels were knocked over, and an owl flew out of a steel tube atop one panel just before it thundered down. The last prototype standing took a little more time to destroy.
U.S. officials say elements of the prototypes have been melded into current border fence designs and they were no longer needed….
Removal of prototypes made way to extend a second-layer barrier of steel poles topped by a metal plate rising 30 feet (9.1 meters) from the ground, the same design being used elsewhere on the border. The new barrier vaguely resembles some of the steel prototypes but looks nothing like the solid concrete panels, which were widely panned because border agents couldn’t see what was happening on the other side.
The nearly $3 billion that Congress has provided for barriers during the first half of Trump’s term requires that money be spent on designs that were in place before May 2017, effectively prohibiting the prototypes from being used and denying Trump bragging rights to say he built his wall.
President Trump has found a way around that Congressional roadblock, but the reality remains: the wall, even if it looks more like a fence, is being built. President Trump, unlike previous presidents, is putting his money where his mouth is and is making America safe again.