During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent entry of illegal migrants and drug traffickers into the US. A wall does exist, but it does not run the full length of the nearly 2000-mile border, and there are gaps which people use to enter. Moreover, some of the gaps are natural, like bodies of water. Therefore, Donald Trump wants to have a permanent US-Mexico Border Wall to ensure that entry is restricted to authorized persons.

The cost to build such a wall would run upwards of billions of dollars, and Trump, in his campaign, indicated that Mexico would foot the bill.

However, that is not likely to happen because Mexico has refused to pay for it.

Authorities have set the ball rolling for the first stages of activity by awarding contracts to four firms to build prototypes.

The US-Mexico border wall

The BBC reports that according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), contracts have been awarded to build prototypes of the US-Mexico border wall as envisaged by Donald Trump. Over 200 companies submitted designs for the proposed border wall, and four have been shortlisted.

The first batch of prototypes are made from concrete, and their specifications have been defined. They will be 30 ft long and up to 30 ft tall, must be tamper proof, and also strong enough to withstand penetration from small hand tools.

Officials will test them to ensure that the specifications are met.

CBP deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello has explained that these are the initial steps, and once they are ready, the design of the actual wall can be finalized with ease. Incidentally, the walls must be robust and must also accommodate features like sensors and cameras.

The order to start the work is expected to be given in the next few weeks, and a tentative timeframe of 30 days will be available to complete work on building the prototypes. Some other materials are under consideration to build the wall apart from concrete, and contracts for those will also be announced.

Environmental ramifications of border wall

The US-Mexico border wall proposed by Donald Trump is supposed to act as a deterrent to check drug traffickers. However the effect of such a wall on the environment appears to have been overlooked. The route of the wall passes through forests, rivers, and other bodies of water, and the presence of a wall would affect the free movement and migration of wildlife. The net result would be an ecological disaster. While finalizing the design of the wall, the engineers should keep this aspect in mind.