The start of the official testing period was Nov. 27, but physical tests began Monday, said Carlos Diaz, CBP’s public affairs branch chief for the southwest border.
Construction of eight wall prototypes in the San Diego sector were completed on Oct. 26. Six companies were chosen to build eight sample walls — four made of concrete and four constructed of “other materials.”
President Donald Trump made the southern border wall between Mexico and the United States the calling card of his presidential campaign. “Build the wall” became a familiar chant at all of Trump’s campaign rallies, and stopping illegal immigration was one of the candidate’s top selling points.
The prototypes are the first steps in CBP’s efforts to build a wall, although administration officials have acknowledged that a future wall is unlikely to stretch from “sea to shining sea,” despite Trump’s initial promise to cover the entire border.
Last week, CBP officials began training, safety and security procedures, as well as scheduling to set up the testing.
The physical testing will include attempts to scale and breach the prototypes. Officials will use items such as jackhammers, saws and hydraulic tools to attempt to breach the prototypes.
During the procurement process the companies were required to build the walls at least 6-feet deep. The depth of the walls was evaluated during the construction process, according to Diaz.
All eight prototypes were required to be 18 to 30 feet high and designed to deter illegal crossings.
The prototypes were built side-by-side to the current secondary wall in San Diego, which already has a primary and secondary barrier.
Officials say that the current barriers need to be modernized.