Fort Worth contractor gets death threats for bidding on border wall


Companies wanting to design and build President Donald Trump's border wall faced a deadline on Tuesday to get their bids in.

Two of the businesses bidding on the wall are based in North Texas. And for one of those company owners, the pushback has been hostile.

The border wall has yet to be funded. But contractors who want a piece of the action have to show their hand right now.

Two Fort Worth contractors have made a bid. One was in Washington on Tuesday working all the way to the deadline.

John Garrett with J.P. Construction is one of two Fort Worth contractors bidding to build the border wall.

"I don't want to get into politics, but the wall has always been there,” he said. “They always had border patrol.”

While Garrett says he hasn't received any pushback, Michael Evangelista Ysasaga with Penna Group says he has received several death threats.

"We'd already been working on the border for about four years, so we are very familiar with the border environment. But we had to do some soul searching to decide whether we were going to move forward on this project,” Ysasaga said. “The federal contractor community is a very small community. We pretty much know what everybody else is doing and talking about. And we heard some very disturbing and what we consider to be inhumane options, lethal options, including electrified fence, razor wire. And we decided to be a productive part of the solution rather than to sit it out."

Ysasaga's Penna Group is a Hispanic-owned general contracting company in Fort Worth. He has said he thinks sealing the border with Mexico could lead to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S.

As for Garrett, his 20-year-old company has 50 employees. He says for him, this is about business and not politics.

"This is one of the biggest projects” he said. “If you can get your company on that, the sky’s the limit for projects in the future.”

Building the wall will be a challenge. At least one contractor is asking what the government what will be doing to protect them against hostile attacks or if they can carry firearms and what would happen if they had to use deadly force.

"There's no question I think at some point be facing hostiles and probably get shots taken at us,” Ysasaga said. “But we've got a mitigation plan in place for that."

Garrett says he's not worried about all of that.

"Some parts of the wall is remote — no towns or anything,” he said. “Build up your own little city for your guys to sleep and eat and everything else."

The government asked contractors for bids and designs for a wall 30 feet high and a foundation six feet deep that also has to be aesthetically pleasing.

Ysasage says his company has worked hard on the design, including ideas solicited from border patrol agents.

"Not only a functional wall,” he said. “Something that is ahead of the competition and something that is in compliance with Trump's mandate that it be a big, beautiful wall."

About 200 companies have expressed interest in building part of the wall. The Department of Homeland Security now estimates the wall will cost $21.6 billion.

Ysasage expects to hear something back in the next 10 days.

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