US agency delays start of bidding on Trump border wall

Washington: The US government today delayed the call for bids from companies to help build the Trump administration’s controversial wall on the Mexican border, saying the interest from contractors has been high.

Customs and Border Protection previously said it would issue the request for proposals today but in a statement the agency said it was still finalizing the documents, which should be released “soon.”

“Industry interest has been high,” the statement said. To accomodate that the agency “intends to expand the opportunity for offerors to propose wall designs.”

More than 650 construction-related businesses, including 66 identified as Hispanic-American-owned, expressed interest after the agency issued a “pre-solicitation” announcement last month.

Plans for the wall have been a pillar of President Donald Trump’s harsh new immigration policies, which also have involved a controversial travel ban on refugees and migrants from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Trump has repeatedly pledged to build the wall to block the entry of unauthorized migrants and said Mexico would pay for it, despite steadfast refusal Mexican officials.

Various estimates put the cost for the 30-foot (nine-meter) wall at between USD 8 billion and USD 40 billion.