Thursday was a big day in the border wall business: US Customs and Border Protection announced that four concrete wall prototypes had been chosen from among more than 200 proposals. The border wall designs, each 30 feet long and up to 30 feet tall, will be built in the San Diego area over 30 days and then tested for 30 to 60 days by Homeland Security officials, reports the Washington Post. CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello said testing would look at "things like the aesthetics of it, how penetrable they are, how resistant they are to tampering, and scaling or anti-claim features." He added that officials testing the wall would use small hand tools, not "ballistic kind of things," reports the BBC.
The contracts were awarded to companies from Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, and Texas. Officials say four more contracts for prototypes of non-concrete barriers will be awarded next week. The decision was originally expected in June, but the process was slowed down by objections from companies that failed to be chosen as finalists. Officials say that the companies building the prototypes will not necessarily be the ones chosen to build the full version of the border wall, which has been criticized as unnecessary by Democrats and others worried that FEMA funding might be cut to pay for it, the New York Times reports. (President Trump has threatened to shut down the government if funding for the wall isn't approved.)