COOLIDGE, Arizona — The states neighboring Mexico are looking at options, along with the federal government, on how to build a fence or wall along the border.
Build 218 miles of border fence with access roads for the Border Patrol. Incorporate high-tech surveillance and facial recognition cameras. Promise the job will be completed in a year, at a cost of $3.285 billion dollars. That bold sales pitch brought members of Congress from nine states to Coolidge, Airzona on Tuesday.
"When they said they had secured a bond for the full amount of the contract to build the 220 some odd miles in a year on budget, on time, that's got to be attractive does it not?" said East Valley Congressman Andy Biggs.
Biggs arranged an up close look at how Fisher proposes to install the wall along four sections of the border: 42 miles near Yuma, 69 miles near El Paso, Texas, 16 miles near El Centro, California and the longest stretch 91-miles south of Tucson.
"I want to show we're not just building a barrier. We're building infrastructure for Border Patrol Agents," said Fisher President and CEO Tommy Fisher. Fisher says his team can dig a trench insert the iron-steel fence and fill in the base with concrete at a rate of a mile a day. "I am impressed," Congressman Biggs said, "it seems a pretty efficient way to do it."
Fisher's original bid was rejected because the company said it was penalized for not doing any current work on the border. The demonstration was an attempt to build support in Congress that it should be reconsidered.
The members who came to Coolidge were all Republicans. No Democrats showed. They were invited Congressman Biggs said, "I would have loved for them to come," Biggs said, "Even if they walked away feeling different about things than I do, I will still like them to see this."
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, who represents the West Valley and is a member of the Homeland Security Committee said, "on the border wall they will not give at all. They don't want any money coming to a border fence or border wall. That's unfortunate. It's part of the solution."
Congressman Biggs and Congresswoman Lesko say there is money available from drug interdiction, asset forfeiture, and the federal budget which can be used to fund border wall construction while the courts decide whether the President's Emergency Declaration is legal.
Whether Fisher Industries gets a second chance to build it is still to be determined.