Saturday, December 21, 2019

Private Texas Border Wall Caught in Legal Fight

Photo: Elizabeth Findell/The WSJ
Government wins restraining order halting construction over concerns $40 million barrier, being built with private funds, could change course of the Rio Grande
An effort to build a privately funded wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Trump administration’s efforts progress slowly, is running into trouble over concerns that its design may alter the border itself.
Construction of the three-mile section in South Texas was halted last week after a U.S. attorney for Texas’s southern district obtained a temporary restraining order Dec. 5 against its builder, Fisher Industries, a North Dakota-based contractor.
The attorney’s office argued that the wall is being built too close to the Rio Grande and could violate a treaty with Mexico by eroding soil and potentially altering the course of the waterway, which demarcates the U.S. border in Texas, when it floods.
Meanwhile, a group called We Build the Wall has raised $25 million online and said it has contributed $2 million toward the South Texas wall’s construction.
Such private moves to build sections of wall come as supporters of President Trump, who agree with him that more secure barriers could help stop illegal immigration and related crimes, seek to speed construction. The federal government has built or strengthened only 90 miles of wall since Mr. Trump took office nearly three years ago, and virtually none in Texas, due in part to resistance from landowners.
Photo: Elizabeth Findell/The WSJ
Fisher Industries this month won a $400 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build 31 miles of government-funded border wall near Yuma, Ariz. The Pentagon’s internal watchdog said Thursday it would investigate the contract award after reports that Fisher Industries, which received the award after vocal support from Mr. Trump, hadn’t previously met qualification criteria.
Fisher Industries hopes it can demonstrate the value of the company’s preferred construction style to help it win future federal contracts. “Most people wouldn’t invest $40 million on the fly unless they really believe in it,” the company’s president, Tommy Fisher, said, referring to the projected cost of the wall.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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