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US border authority contracts four firms to build border wall prototype

WASHINGTON: The US Customs and Border Protection agency ordered prototypes for President Donald Trump's proposed wall on the US-Mexican border on Thursday, even though a budget fight in Congress could leave the project unfunded for next year.

Four companies were awarded contracts to build reinforced concrete models up to 9m-high, CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello announced.

The prototypes have to have "anti-climb" features to deter illegal immigrants from sneaking into the US. The government also expects to award contracts for non-concrete prototypes.

They will be evaluated not only on the physical structure but "all of the tools that help us secure the border", he said.

For the fiscal 2018 budget, the government has proposed about US$1.6 billion (S$2.2 billion) to begin building what could become a US$20 billion project.

But Congress is deeply split over the budget and worries are that it might not be able to bridge its differences and fund the government before the fiscal year begins on Oct 1. - AFP

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