SAN DIEGO (AP) — One potential bidder on President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack.” Another asked if employees can carry firearms in states with strict gun control laws and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force.
With bids due Tuesday on the first design contracts, interested companies are preparing for the worst if they get the potentially lucrative job.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details haven’t been made public said four to 10 bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes.
They will be constructed on a roughly 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, the official said. The government anticipates spending $200,000 to $500,000 on each prototype.
The Border Patrol and local police would establish a buffer zone around the construction site if necessary, the U.S. official said. The San Diego police and sheriff’s departments said Monday they will respect constitutional rights to free speech and assembly for any peaceful, law-abiding protesters.
Enrique Morones, executive director of Border Angels, said his group plans to protest.
“There will be a lot of different activity — protests, prayer vigils — on both sides of the wall,” said Morones, whose immigrant advocacy group is based in San Diego. “We pray and hope that they’re peaceful.”
Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, chief executive of The Penna Group LLC, a general contractor in Fort Worth, Texas, said he has received about a dozen death threats since publicly expressing interest in bidding, including one from a woman who told him she hired a private investigator to trail him.
Evangelista-Ysasaga said he bid in part because he wants broad immigration reform. Securing the border, he said, is a prerequisite for granting a path to citizenship to millions in the U.S. illegally.