There are 8 prototype walls being tested for the opportunity to become the contractor to build the entire wall. They are of various designs and shapes with different types of materials at various heights on the wall.
The border patrol agents prefer walls that have steel at the bottom with spaces that allow them to see what is happening on the other side of the wall. Smooth concrete at the top of the walls makes it nearly impossible to climb. Military special forces and U.S. Customs and Border Protection special units spent weeks testing the walls in an effort to see which ones provided the most difficulty in scaling.
Overall, commandos using various tools including jackhammers and climbing ropes in trying to climb over the barriers but the task proved to be monumental. In three weeks only one person was able to hook the top of one of the thirty-foot walls.
Some were successful in climbing the first twenty feet but then needed help for the final ten feet. Even with the success of the walls, none of the eight could be the final design as they could combine features of more than one wall to make a composite that would prove even more difficult than the original eight designs.
Customs and Border Protection leaders were scheduled to be briefed on the findings this week amid intensifying discussions between the White House and Congress on immigration legislation to avert a government shutdown and renew protection for about 800,000 young immigrants who were temporarily shielded from deportation under an Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is scheduled to end in March.
The administration has insisted wall funding be part of any immigration deal but Trump has been unclear about how long the wall would be and how it should be designed. The administration has asked for $1.6 billion this year to build or replace 74 miles (118.4 kilometers) of barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and San Diego and plans to request another $1.6 billion next year.
The evaluations are not yet complete but from the initial results, it appears that the barriers would thwart 99% of all climbers not associated with special forces.