As Donald Trump’s presidency enters into its second month, his promised “great border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico still remains in limbo, but more companies are putting their hand up to construct the controversial wall, this time one from Puerto Rico.
On Friday, Puerto Rico-based company, San Diego Project Management PCS, applied to build the wall in response to government calls for proposals.
The company – headquartered in Luquillo, east of San Juan, Puerto Rico – is competing with dozens of other construction and engineering firms to win the contract for the wall, according to Puerto Rican media outlet Primera Hora.
Patrick Balcazar, head and founder of San Diego Project Management PCS, confirmed that his company did indeed submit a proposal to compete for the contract for the wall, which has been estimated to cost between US$10 and $22 billion.
Balcazar said that he has considered the criticisms he would face, given that many in Latin America see the wall as a physical sign of demonizing those south of the U.S. border as criminals, rapists and “bad hombres” – all terms that Trump has previously used to describe Mexican immigrants.
“There are two ways to look at this: it's better to be part of the process and participate in it and make sure your engineering standards safeguard lives or you can let the mercenaries do, God knows what,” said Balcazar.
“I have a very high level of professional and personal ethics. I work under the rules and never to hurt anyone,” Balcazar continued.
Earlier this week, Rogelio Zambrano, board chairman of Mexican company Cemex said the cement company would “gladly” provide quotes for the wall. The world’s biggest cement company, LafargeHolcim, also said that Trump’s wall is "an infrastructure project where we would participate.”
As well as being the big ticket item in Trump’s aggressive anti-immigration stance, the border wall also forms part of his overall plan to invest US$1 trillion into infrastructure projects in his promise to bring back U.S.-based construction jobs.
Regardless of who builds Trump’s proposed wall, serious negotiation with Mexico will be required. According to media reports earlier this week, the Trump administration is falling well short of funds to build the wall, which Trump has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for.
Reuters reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified only US$20 million that can be re-directed to the wall, according to a document prepared by the agency.
The document states that current funding would only be enough to cover contracts for wall prototypes, but not actual construction. In his boasting, Trump has said that Mexico will be forced to pay for the wall and that he would ask Congress help cover any outstanding costs.