BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- A border wall built by Texans with Texan materials may sound like a winning idea to the Trump administration. That’s what one group of Houston contractors is pitching to Washington.
The group is so confident they have the best approach to securing the border, they’ve decided to build a prototype near the border in Brownsville, Texas.
Construction workers were laying the foundation of what a Houston company believes is the long-sought solution to securing the border between Texas and Mexico.
“The Rio Grande River is 1,000 or 2,000 feet that direction,” said Border Wall Builders LLC co-founder Don Cameron as he points to the current border fence. “And this fence is a big expensive mistake.”
Cameron came to Brownsville to build his border wall prototype: two parallel, 10-foot-tall chain link fences with a 30-foot-wide “no man’s land” situated between.
“You can put razor wire, pulse non-lethal electric shock wire, you can have TV cameras,” he said. “Without a ‘no man’s land,’ you cannot have those things.”
The group’s proposal has already been rejected by the Department of Homeland Security, a rejection that came because the wall didn’t meet the height requirement of 18 feet, according to Cameron.
But he and his team are convinced that their fence would get the president’s approval. It comes with a price tag of $4 to $8 million per mile compared to the $8 to $25 million estimated by Washington.
Cameron argues that his fence would save time. Plus, the money to pay for the wall wouldn’t come from Mexico or from taxes.
Their bold proposal would be paid for entirely by donors through their GoFundMe account.
“I believe that one tweet from President Trump, and there would be millions of dollars,” he said. “Maybe he even wants to donate himself. Nobody has done it yet.”
One tweet from Trump and Cameron says that they will get to work.
But first, they need to finish the prototype, which will be on display at Rusty Monsees’s property for everyone to visit.
“It’s going to help everybody. Why should I object?” said Monsees, who is lending the land for the prototype because he feels that the current fence stretching across the border has failed. “You want a contractor from Texas working here, using local labor, local material that goes back into the economy, the local people!”
Ultimately, what everyone here wants is to put a stop to illegal smuggling. They know it’s a long shot.
“We don’t want people getting in there, that’s the point.,” Cameron noted. “And when you see that razor wire glistening in the sun, it sends a message: Stay away from me.”
There are some flaws in the proposal. Cameron claims that it won’t require the government to take people’s land through the eminent domain law, but lots of private property along the Texas border runs up to the river.
Also, Border Wall Builders promised to reimburse donors their money if the project doesn’t take off. However, they haven’t explained how they will do that.
Once they’re done with the prototype, they plan to fly to Washington, D.C. hoping to score a meeting with the Trump administration.