The US government announced Thursday that six prototypes for President Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico have been completed and will be subjected to punishment to test their mettle—by workers wielding sledgehammers, torches, pickaxes, and battery-operated tools. The testing, lasting up to two months, could lead to officials concluding that elements of several designs should be merged to create effective walls, says Ronald Vitiello, US Customs and Border Protection's acting deputy commissioner. That raises the possibility of no winner or winners. Results of the testing will dictate future wall construction, which has not yet been funded by Congress, the AP reports.
Vitiello told reporters that workers during the 30-60 day testing period will try to answer basic questions: "Can it be climbed? Can it be dug under? Can it withstand cutting tools?" Trump has asked Congress for $1.6 billion for the first installment of his wall. It would replace 14 miles in San Diego and build 60 miles in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. It's unclear to what extent Trump will weigh in on the selection, and Vitiello says he doesn't know if the president will visit the testing site. Trump has expressed interest in including solar panels, which are not part of any of the prototypes. (At least five people have attempted illegal crossings through the prototype site.)