Earlier this year, some contract notices showed up on a government website run by Customs and Border Protection (an agency of the Homeland Security Department).
The notices outlined what the Trump administration is looking for when it comes to the proposed wall. Here’s what the notices said:
One of the CBP contract requests calls for a solid concrete wall, while the other asks for proposals for a see-through structure. Both require the wall to sunk at least six feet into the ground and include 25- and 50-foot automated gates for pedestrians and vehicles. The proposed wall must also be built in a such a way that it would take at least an hour to cut through it with a “sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools.”
The government will award a contract based on 30-foot-wide sample walls that are to be built in San Diego.
Obviously, that is all kinds of hilarious. And for about 60 seconds, we were pondering how to paraphrase our original assessment of that so as to enhance the comedic value, but ultimately we determined that there was no topping what we said back in March, so here it is again:
First of all, just try and imagine the thought process that went into this. I mean what was the question that led to the “would take at least an hour to cut through” bit? Is that based on some assessment of available data on the average time it takes Mexican bandits to cut through concrete walls?
Also, this seems to suggest that the administration thinks Mexicans’ solution to the construction of a border wall will be to form chain gangs equipped with sledgehammers, car jacks, pick axes, chisels, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torches [and] other similar hand-held tools (maybe trowels? screwdrivers?). Is that realistic? I mean what the f*ck are they going to do with all that equipment once they cut through the wall? Take it with them to America? (“What are you guys doing with those pick axes, chisels and Oxy/acetylene torches?” “Nothing.”) Leave it at the scene of the wall crime? Or will there be trucks there to take it back to Mexico where it will be loaned out to the next group of would-be wall cutters?
But perhaps even funnier than that is the spectacle of people building sample walls in the middle of the desert. It conjures up images of Mexicans cutting through dummy walls while white task masters stand over them with stopwatches.
A couple of days after those contract notices were posted, the hilarity knob got cranked up another notch when it became apparent that Hispanic firms were actually bidding to build the samples. Here are a couple of excerpts from the WSJ piece:
More than 200 companies have expressed interest in submitting plans to help design and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, as the Trump administration seeks to fulfill a key campaign promise despite significant obstacles.
The companies, whose names were published on a federal contracting website, vary widely in size and capability–from construction giants like Kiewit Corp. to smaller, family-owned businesses.
Among those interested at this early stage are more than three dozen businesses owned by minorities, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. Roughly 13% of the companies expected to submit proposals for the wall, for example, are owned by Hispanics.
Funnier still was this bit:
Mario Burgos, the son of an immigrant, owns an Albuquerque, N.M., construction logistics company and plans to submit a proposal.
Now to be clear, we have no idea how these bids are panning out, but it seems at least possible that Donald Trump is going to end up paying billions of taxpayer dollars to Hispanic immigrants for their help in building a wall to keep out … Hispanic immigrants.
Fast forward three months and Trump revealed a new plan for the wall at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The wall, he claimed, would be built out of solar panels. Here’s the clip:
— Bloomberg (@business) June 22, 2017
Got that? He’s going to build the wall out of solar panels because there’s “lots of sun and heat” down there. Trump confessed that was his idea: “Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.” Of course no one doubted that was his idea precisely because it is so outrageously implausible that there was absolutely no doubt about where it came from.
So that was in June.
Then, about a month later while aboard Air Force 1, Trump changed his mind again, explaining that the whole thing needs to be “see-through” because if it’s not, there’s no way to keep people on the American side from getting killed by flying sacks of heroin.
Here’s the actual quote (and do note that the real transcript had “cray” instead of “crazy” which makes this even more amusing if you’re a Kanye fan):
One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can’t see through that wall – so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.
And I’ll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them – they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over.
As cray as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.
Well here we are in October and they’re actually building the sample walls in what the Washington Post describes as “a sunbaked swath of scrubland abutting a run-down neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico.” The video is so laughable that you have to fight back the tears while watching it. Here it is:
Needless to say, this isn’t going to work. And guess who knows it? Mexicans, that’s who.
“People are still going to cross no matter what is there,” Kevin Ãvila RodrÃguez, 17, who recycles trash and lives near the spot where the border wall prototypes are being built told the Post, adding that “this won’t change things much.”
There’s more than a little irony in the location of the construction site. First of all, recall Katt Williams’ simple assessment of why this is doomed to fail:
Right. And here’s the Post underscoring just that:
One irony of building these brawny prototypes at this location is that San Diego has long demonstrated the weakness of walls. Nowhere is more famous for its sophisticated border tunnels than this industrial sprawl near the Otay Mesa border crossing. The drug lord JoaquÃn “El Chapo” GuzmÃ¡n, now imprisoned in New York, disrupted the narcotics trade by building “super-tunnels” here that were dozens of feet deep, equipped with elevators and ventilation and lighting, to move vast amounts of cocaine into California. Seven tunnels of various sizes have been identified by the San Diego sector of the Border Patrol just this year.
The ground here, as one U.S. official put it, “is like Swiss cheese.”
Meanwhile, the construction effort itself has reportedly been plagued by boondoggles and buffoonery. For instance, six Mexicans actually jumped a nearby fence and accidentally landed in the construction zone:
Even these big warning slabs of concrete, the teeming construction site, and police and helicopters patrolling both sides of the border weren’t enough to stop a half-dozen would-be migrants from hopping the existing fence this month and landing smack in the middle of the project, according to U.S. border officials.
And while construction is now apparently “humming along”, things got off to a decidedly rocky start:
Trump has pledged that the border wall will stop illegal immigrants and drugs. CBP officials, however, said the walls under consideration would likely not go deep enough to block large, sophisticated tunnels.
On the second day of prototype construction, a worker for one of the companies involved fell backward into what CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio described as a “40-foot-deep hole,” although this was unrelated to drug tunnels and it did not result in injuries. “It wasn’t a good first step,” he said.
So if you were wondering how this was going, the answer is this: just like you might imagine it would be going.
This is what your tax dollars are being used to fund. Tax dollars which, thanks to Trump’s tax plan, will be provided less by people like him and more by people like you.