From the Washington Examiner:
New revelations come almost by the minute in the Trump-Russia affair. The White House moves into full-defense mode. The Trump agenda stalls on Capitol Hill.
A reasonable observer might conclude that is all that is happening in the Trump administration. But even as those troubles fill news sites and cable TV, administration officials are quietly moving ahead on one of the president’s top campaign promises: the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Although it hasn’t received much attention relative to the president’s many problems, extensive planning for the wall is under way, officials are evaluating specific proposals, sites are being studied, and yes, there is money available to get going.
The work is being done under President Trump’s executive order of Jan. 25, which declared the administration’s policy to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall …” The order went on to set a high standard of effectiveness: “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States” along the border. Finally, the order cited an existing law, the Secure Fence Act, which in 2006 called for the construction of “at least two layers of reinforced fencing” and “additional physical barriers” on up to 700 miles of the 1,954-mile border.
… In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent out a request for proposals for companies to bid on the construction of prototypes — not little models to sit on someone’s desk, but full-scale sections of proposed wall designs that will be put in place on the border. So far, Border Protection has received more than 100 proposals. …
Right now, officials are studying how many “buildable miles” will need a barrier. Whatever the precise number, it will be big. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security told Congress that, of the 1,954 miles of border, 1,300 miles, or 66.5 percent, have no fencing or barriers at all; 299.8 miles, or 15.3 percent, have vehicle fence; and 316.6 miles, or 16.2 percent, have pedestrian fence. Only 36.3 miles, or 2 percent, have the kind of double-layer fencing required by the Secure Fence Act. (The law was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, but neither Bush nor Congress really wanted to build the fence. So they didn’t.)