As if the fraud and corruption claims related to 'We Build the Wall' weren't bad enough, it has now emerged that a short section of the organization's privately funded and built "border wall" on the shores of the Rio Grande River is structurally vulnerable and isn't built to last.
A government-funded engineering study on the subject is set to enter federal court this week.
The building of the Rio Grande wall started out with a vetting process. Eight shiny new prototypes were built and tested before the organization 'We Build the Wall' decided on the best option.
As John Oliver recently reported on Last Week Tonight, "a government report [has since] found that every mock-up was ‘deemed vulnerable to at least one breaching technique,’ with one having the ‘potential to impact the structural integrity of the entire mock-up.'"
Nevertheless, after the winning wall was chosen by 'We Build the Wall', a company named Fisher Sand and Gravel installed a small section of steel bollard fence as a proof of concept in Texas.
So what exactly happened to make two engineering papers, reported by ProPublica, note the extensive erosion and vulnerability of the section of border wall on in the Rio Grande? In Texas, the border between Mexico and the US is the Rio Grande River itself. Building a stable wall next to a waterway can certainly be a tricky business.
As ProPublica explains, the first problem came when Fisher Sand and Gravel started by removing vegetation that typically helps to hold waterlogged terrain together. Then, in July, the same area was hit by the torrential downpours and ferocious winds of Hurricane Hanna.
“The damage to the soil underneath the fence after Hanna is far worse than what we saw from the photos from the big rain events from a month or so ago," Alex Mayer, a civil engineering professor at the University of Texas, who was involved in one of the studies, pointed out to ProPublica.