Selection of Companies for Prototype Contracts
Announced on August 31, 2017
Additional Contracts announced on September 7, 2017

Policy Summary

On Thursday, August 31, the Trump administration announced its selection of four construction companies contracted to build prototypes of the border wall. Construction of the prototypes will take place in San Diego, where they could remain as permanent fixtures functioning as barriers in the city or be removed and relocated elsewhere, according to Ronald Vitiello, deputy commission of US Customs and Border Protection. Each prototype will be 30 feet long and 30 feet high and made of concrete. Construction for the prototypes is expected to start in early-mid September and be completed within 30 days of breaking ground, followed by a 30-60 day review by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS will test the security of the prototypes using small hand tools.

On Thursday, September 7, DHS issued additional contracts to four companies to construct border wall prototypes out of materials “other than concrete.” Two of the four companies awarded contracts are also received contracts to construct concrete border wall prototypes. These prototypes are slated to be 18-30 feet high and will also be built in San Diego. DHS did not specify what kind of materials would be used construct this group of prototypes.


The border wall symbolizes the central promise to Trump’s campaign, which was essentially to make America safe again by stopping all Mexicans and Muslims from entering the country, thereby making America great again. Thus, there is added pressure to see the construction of the wall through. While Congress has set aside $20 million in this year’s budget to build prototypes of the wall, no money has been approved for actual border wall construction, which could cost up to $21 billion according to an internal DHS assessment. The House approved of $1.6 billion in border wall funding in 2018, a mere fraction of what construction is projected to cost, but Senate Democrats will most likely block the approved funds later this month. Therefore, prototype construction does not guarantee wall construction.

Engagement Resources

  • Take Action With Southern Border Communities Coalition: SBCC formed in 2011 and has brought over 60 organizations together ensure fair border enforcement, promote policy and solutions improving quality of life in border regions, and support humane immigration reform. You can get involved with SBCC by donating and/or signing up for their newsletter.
  • Support Alliance San Diego: Alliance SD, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization responsible for creating SBCC, organizes coalitions to promote justice and social change in San Diego. You can support Alliance SD through donating, volunteering, or attending an Alliance SD event.
  • Get Involved With the American Civil Liberties Union: The ACLU is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” They have been actively involved in court cases challenging the Trump Administration on Immigration.

This brief was compiled by Allie Blum. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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