Hundreds of firms reportedly submitted plans to build a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as many larger companies steered clear of the politically volatile proposal.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that as many as 450 companies bid for the project by Tuesday's deadline. The Department of Homeland Security is expected to select 20 finalists by June, who will then be invited to build prototypes in southern California.
The government will require the wall to be at least 18 feet high and incorporate systems to deter climbing. Several of the initial plans, the Union-Tribune reports, proposed additional unconventional aspects, including solar panels, artwork, a rail system and a gap to allow smaller wildlife through the border.
The window to submit plans for the roughly 2,000-mile structure was originally scheduled for March 17-29, but was pushed back amid questions from potential bidders.
An initial analysis by The Wall Street Journal last week indicated that numerous companies were minority-owned businesses.
Mario Burgos, the son of an Ecuadorian immigrant and owner of a New Mexico construction company, told the Journal that he is not against immigration but that, "There isn’t a country in the world that doesn’t have borders and doesn’t want to enforce them.”
The paper also noted that several bidders had previous ties to President Donald Trump's real estate empire.
Trump made a border wall the centerpiece of his campaign for president and vowed that Mexico would pay for it — which was promptly dismissed by Mexican officials.
Last month, his administration sought $1.5 billion to begin the project, but congressional Republicans indicated that it is unlikely to remain in the budget. The overall project could cost more than $20 billion.
Numerous larger firms, meanwhile, are reportedly sitting the project out amid widespread criticism of the proposal.
Unnamed company officials told the Journal and CNN that they worried about their business overseas, and the paper noted that California is considering limiting investments and contracts with companies that work on the wall.
"In my lifetime, I can't think of a similar experience," American Council on Engineering Companies President Dave Raymond told the network.