Trump’s Border Wall Got a Redesign by a Latino-Owned Contracting Firm
80% of PennaGroup’s labor force is Mexican-American. So why did they take the job?
Images courtesy of PennaGroup
When it came time to make some actual headway on Trump's border wall with Mexico, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued two Border Wall Concept Solicitations. The first was an open call for a "Solid, Concrete Border Wall Concept"; the second, "Other Border Wall Concept," was more open ended. When the CBP released the requests on their website with a March 29 deadline, contractors across the country began submitting proposals, including the Latino-owned U.S Military and Government contracting firm, PennaGroup.
Based out of Fort Worth, Texas, PennaGroup's labor force is approximately 80% Mexican-American according to CEO Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga in an interview with the Huffington Post. Its an admittedly odd project for the firm to take on, especially by a CEO who's spent the last decade traveling around the country lecturing about immigration reform.
When word first got out about the contract, designs put forth by some of PennaGroup's competitors made their way onto Evangelista-Ysasaga's desk. These concepts disturbed him—some of the options from his contemporaries were potentially lethal, replete with electrified fence and razor wire. Evangelista-Ysasaga and PennaGroup decided to take action by creating a more humane proposal that would comply with the Trump administration's requirements but wouldn't kill someone trying to cross it.
The CBP's requisites were as follows: the wall stretches across 1,250 miles of the Mexican border, stands 30' tall, and is impossible to climb over or dig under. The firm's concept for the first "Solid Concrete Border Wall" solicitation features, "slick, vertically-fluted, 30'x10', reinforced concrete panels emblazoned with the Seal of the United States in recessed concrete on the U.S side." The panels would interlock with beams, made of American steel of course, with a top rail designed to prevent people from climbing over the barrier.
The firm's website says that particular design was influenced by Eastern Greek Ionic Order. PennaGroup's second proposal for the "Other Wall" concept, combined a double wire mesh fence with steel beams that would allow Border Patrol Agents to see through the wall in vulnerable areas. Another six-foot anti-climb cap would sit at the top of the fence with the Seal of United States on the U.S side. The firm says their second concept design was influenced by Neoclassical architecture "encompassing the styles of Federal and Greek Revival architecture that were a major influence during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Washington D.C.
The Huffington Post points out that although 83% of Hispanic Americans are opposed to Trump's wall, one in 10 firms submitting proposals are owned by Latinos. It's Evangelista-Ysasaga's belief that if this wall is going to happen, it's best if it's built by someone who cares about the people it's keeping out.
Learn more about PennaGroup's design concepts, head over to their website.