The Trump Administration has released requirements for the border wall slated to cut off the southern U.S. border with Mexico from illegal immigration—and they say it not only needs to be effective, it also needs to be pretty.
In accordance with federal bidding practices, DHS has released a one-page description of what they believe the border wall should look like, and companies submitting a proposal (they’re due in May), should be prepared to explain exactly how their plan fits with DHS’s.
The wall must be around 30 feet high (but no shorter than 18 feet), and should “look imposing” to potential border jumpers, as well as be anchored at least six feet underground. It can be concrete, but it doesn’t have to be. The only requirement as far as aesthetics is that it look “tasteful” from the American side.
There’s no indication that it must look similarly pleasing from the Mexican side. It’s also not clear if they realize that Home Depot sells 32-foot ladders for the truly ambitious.
They do know how much it costs, though. The White House budget released last Thursday allocates more than a billion dollars to the project, which they say will run along all 2,000 miles of the US-Mexican border (including mountainous terrain and through bodies of water).
And they also know they’re serious: Ranchers in Texas say they’ve started to receive condemnation notices alerting them that the government plans to take portions of their land to construct the border wall. They’re not offering top dollar—around $2,500 per acre—but from Donald Trump, eminent domain use was, no doubt, expected.
As far as aesthetics go, there’s not much you can do to a concrete wall to make it easy on the eyes. Trump could, of course, commission his own portrait on the wall, and there’s probably room for a few “Make America Great Again” banners. Banksy is probably already putting together plans for a few guerilla murals, but it will be intriguing to find out exactly how these companies plan on making a 30 foot wall just part of the landscape.