Federal government solicits design proposals for border wall with Mexico

Builders take note: The Trump administration is now soliciting design proposals and prototypes for a roughly 2,000-mile-long wall along the border with Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection published two requests for proposals late Friday, which included the specifications it expects for an American-Mexican barrier meant to deliver on President Donald Trump's promise to build a "big, beautiful wall."

Where the wall already exists along the US-Mexico border

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Where the wall already exists along the US-Mexico border
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Where the wall already exists along the US-Mexico border
A gap in the U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen outside Jacumba, California, United States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
U.S. customs and border patrol officers inspect a vehicle entering the U.S. from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, United States, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
U.S. customs and border patrol officers inspect a vehicle entering the U.S. from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, United States, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
Men talk on a street in the town of Calexico, California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A U.S. customs and border patrol officer stands at a border crossing in San Ysidro, California, United States, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Recent arrivals from Mexico wait to board a greyhound bus in San Ysidro, California, United States, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Highway 82 towards Douglas, Arizona is seen near Sonoita, Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
Clouds float above the border towns of Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona, United States, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A sign warning drivers that firearms and ammunition are prohibited in Mexico is seen at the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, United States, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Buildings in Nogales, Mexico (R) are separated by a border fence from Nogales, Arizona, United Sates, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
An abandoned car sits off the side of a road near Jacumba, California, United States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A worker makes his way through the water after setting up an irrigation system on an agricultural field, near Calexico, California, U.S. October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
An abandoned car sits off the side of a road near Jacumba, California, United States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A church at the Museum of History in Granite is seen in Felicity, California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A man drives a tractor plowing a field at sunrise near Calexico, California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
Residential homes are seen next to the fence that borders Mexico, in Douglas, Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Pedestrians wait to cross the street in Calexico, California, Unites States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The town of Bisbee is seen in Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Pedestrians make their way into the the United States from Mexico at the pedestrian border in Nogales, Arizona, United States, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A roadside collection of alien dolls and toy UFO saucers is seen next to a roadside residence neat Jacumba, California, United States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A road abruptly ends next to a sign for a cattle ranch near Douglas, Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A boy rides an all-terrain vehicle next Mexican border along the Buttercup San Dunes in California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
An old refurbished gas station is seen in Lowell, Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A man rides a tricycle past a grocery store in a town that borders Mexico, in San Luis Butter, California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A U.S. customs and border patrol truck drives past the fence that marks the border between U.S. and Mexico, in Calexico, California, United States, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A truck drives west towards California along highway 8 near Gila Bend, Arizona, United States, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Electronic items are displayed in a shop window in Calexico, California, United States, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A residential home is seen in Nogales, Arizona, United States, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake 
A fence separates the border towns of Nogales, Mexico (R) and Nogales, Arizona, United Sates, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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The agency provided 11 threshold requirements for the wall, which it says "shall be physically imposing in height." The wall needs to be 30 feet tall — although "heights of at least 18 feet may be acceptable" — and it should prevent tunneling by going at least 6 feet below ground.

The wall, it adds, should be difficult for getting over and offer features that prevent "sophisticated climbing aids," such as grappling hooks and building handholds.

Prototypes will also need to prove that they aren't susceptible to a "physical breach" via a "sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operating cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools," the CBP document says.

Potential contractors also need to keep an eye toward style, as the north side of the wall, or U.S.-facing side, "shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment." There are no specifications for the Mexico-facing side of the wall.

The federal government expects proposals to be delivered by March 29 and will award a contract based on a 30-foot-long prototype that contractors would build in San Diego.

Although Trump made it a centerpiece of his presidential campaign to get the Mexican government to pay for the wall, expectations are low that the U.S.'s southern neighbor will fork over money for its construction or after it's done. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has continually rejected Trump's assertion.

Meanwhile, costs and the need to procure land from private citizens in the Southwest would be hurdles for the project.

Trump has given a cost estimate of $12 billion, but a CNBC analysis found that it could balloon to as much as $25 billion, and that doesn't include annual maintenance, which could run as high as $750 million.

Trump's budget proposal to Congress allocates $1.5 billion for the border wall this year, with another $2.6 billion reserved for the project as a down payment in the following fiscal year.

More money would also go toward hiring in Homeland Security, including for 500 new border patrol agents and 20 attorneys who can help procure land.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News in February that he expects "the wall will be built where it's needed first, and then it will be filled in ... I really hope to have it done within the next two years."

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