300 companies lining up to build a wall between US and Mexico, report says


President Donald Trump's proposed physical barrier on the U.S. Southern border might get some help from 300 companies who are interested in working on the project, CNN reports.

Interested parties will be asked to submit their proposals next week, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The contracts are slated to be awarded in April.

Many other details are scant.

"There's really nothing to say at this point. It's all very speculative. Once we get the details, we'll examine whether it's something we'd move on." Terry Willis of Caddell Construction, which has done previous work on U.S. embassies and prisons, told CNN.

Cemex, one of Mexico's largest companies, could be interested, as well. The United States is Cemex's biggest market.

"If one of our clients requests a quote for materials, we have the responsibility to do so," the company said in a statement, leaving its options open. "But this does not imply that Cemex will participate in the project."

Shortly after the president's inauguration in January, shares of material companies rose in anticipation of a border wall. They were also helped by Trump's decision to continue work on the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and his pitched $1 trillion dollar infrastructure package.

The president referenced the prospect of using private companies in such a project in his remarks to Congress on Tuesday.

"Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program," Trump told lawmakers. "To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States -- financed through both public and private capital -- creating millions of new jobs."

Not just traditional builders are interested, however.

"If America has to have a wall, shouldn't it be beautiful?" Sarah Zapolsky of #ArtTheWall told CNN. "Does it have to be an eyesore, or can it be something marvelous? They're just asking for ideas, so why not just throw out the idea and encourage all my artist friends to do the same."

Part of the United States and Mexico is already separated by a physical barrier, affecting locales such as El Paso and Juarez which borders Texas, and Nogales, a city with sides in Arizona and Mexico. Artists have taken to decorating such structures, as well.

In February, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly called the alleged lack of security on the southern border a "gaping wound." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Mexico last month, said he and his Mexican counterparts reiterated a "joint commitment to maintain law and order along our shared border by stopping potential terrorists, and dismantling the transnational criminal networks moving drugs and people into the United States."

The Mexican government opposes the president's project, however, and a political climate fiercely opposed to the wall is fueling presidential candidates in Mexico who could be much more critical of the United States, if elected come 2018.

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