A massive contract for $400 million was awarded to Fisher Sand and Gravel, a contractor that President Donald Trump reportedly pushed the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to hire, to build a span of new border wall through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Ariz.
The Defense Department announced Monday the awarding of the contract to North Dakota-based Fisher. The border wall has a target completion date of Dec. 30, 2020. It will be about 31 miles long, according to a statement from Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
In the past, Trump has pushed for Fisher to be awarded contracts, despite its bids not meeting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ standards, The Washington Post reported. Fisher’s CEO is Tommy Fisher, who has appeared multiple times on Fox News to promote his company and is a major donor to the Republican Party.
The company also sued the U.S. government for not accepting its bid earlier this year to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a different spot that could have been worth billions of dollars, the Post previously reported.
Trump has insisted that he knows that Fisher is a better company than the ones the Army Corps of Engineers currently has. But the record doesn’t show that. In 2017, Fisher built a concrete wall as a prototype, but Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials told the Post that the prototype was late and way over budget.
A later steel version of the wall also was rejected by DHS.
“The system he is proposing does not meet the operational requirements of U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” a DHS official told the Post.
Fisher’s current building plan for the 31 miles in Arizona has not been approved by the International Boundary and Water Commission. The group watches and regulates what can be built in the flood plain.
The company previously worked with Republicans and landowners to build border walls on private land, including in South Texas along the Rio Grande, according to the Post.