Alabama company bids to build border wall with Mexico

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama-based perimeter security manufacturer has placed a bid to build President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

AMICO Security placed the bid to build the wall in an effort to expand its operations based on the demand from the Department of Homeland Security, Al.com reported. The company is located in Birmingham, and if AMICO wins the bid, it could be a big job creator in the area.

AMICO already has around 50 miles of security fence on the Mexico border. The company is owned by the Buffalo, New York-based Gibraltar Industries Inc.

AMICO director of marketing Gary Baltz said his company’s competitors had their steel mesh produced in Mexico.

“We could have been tempted to have it built down there during the downturn, but we knew that continuing to employ American workers right here in Alabama was the right thing to do and would put us in a good place eventually,” he said.

Baltz said he realizes the government called for a cement structure, but he felt confident those original plans could be ditched in favor of mesh steel fences. AMICO is already a manufacturer of perimeter fences for the military and various power companies.

The radar technology will be manufactured by the Huntsville-based defense contractor Dynetics.

The Department of Homeland Security placed an April 4 deadline for proposals. Customs and Border Protection declined to name the bidding contractors on deadline day, which is typical protocol.

Between four and 10 finalists will be announced in June. The prototypes will be constructed on a quarter-mile (400-meter) strip of federally owned land in San Diego within 120 feet (37 meters) of the border, though a final decision has not been made on the precise spot, a U.S. official said.

A Customs and Border Protection official says the prototypes will be 30 feet long as well as 18 to 30 feet tall. A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details have not been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes for $200,000 to $500,000 each.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said that Mexico would pay for the wall, but he has since requested that Congress approve billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Democrats vow to oppose any wall funding, and many Republicans are also wary of his plans for a massive brick-and-mortar barrier.

Meanwhile, the head of Homeland Security said that arrests of people entering illegally across the border plummeted last month. That’s a signal that fewer people are trying to sneak into the U.S.