Contractors bidding on the proposed border wall with Mexico are seeking to know if they will be protect by authorities should they come under attack. There are also potential builders seeking to know if they can carry firearms in areas where strict controls are imposed on firearms, while asking if the federal government will indemnify them if they should resort to deadly force. At least one contractor has received death threats.
 
Bids for design contracts are due on Tuesday. As many as 10 bidders may be chosen to build prototypes along an approximately quarter-mile stirp of federal land in the San Diego, California, area within 120 feet of the international border. Each prototype will cost between $200,000 to $500,000. The prototypes are expected to be approximately 30 feet long and 18 to 30 feet high. Contractors must have experience in building border security or similar projects worth $25 million in the past five years to qualify.
 
 
The Border Patrol and police will enforce a buffer zone around the construction site if necessary. However, San Diego municipal police and local sheriff departments say that they will respect the rights to peaceful assembly and free speech of law-abiding protesters.
 
While President Trump has repeatedly said that Mexico will pay for the construction of the wall, Mexico has rejected such claims. The president has indeed requested billions of dollars of appropriations from Congress to make initial payments. For their part, Democrats vow to resist bolstering national security along the border with Trump’s proposed wall.
 
According to federal specifications, winning bidders must offer a detailed security plan that includes: "'fall back positions, evacuation routines and methods, muster area, medical staff members/availability, number of security personnel, qualifications, years of experience, etc. in the event of a hostile attack." The federal agency soliciting bids said that it will not provide security. Nonetheless, contractors are expected to have a background in “executing high-profile, high-visibility and politically contentious" projects.
 
Constractors are responsible for their own security, even while the Border Patrol would ostensibly respond in the event of a hostile attack. However, government will not permit waivers from state laws on firearms nor indemnify companies using deadly force.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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