Advocates Criticize Latino Vendors For Bids On ‘Shameful’ Border Wall

A stretch of U.S.-Mexico border wall near Nogales. Latino groups are criticizing Hispanic-owned firms that have expressed an interest in bidding on a Trump administration plan to extend the wall the length of the Southwestern border, but the companies are unfazed. (Photo by Josh Orcutt/Cronkite News)

By Andres Guerra Luz 

WASHINGTON – Some Hispanic-owned companies on the list of “interested vendors” for the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall say they are facing a backlash from Latino advocates who call the project “shameful” and “wrong.”

Even though the contracts could be worth billions – estimates range from $21.6 billion to as much as $70 billion – advocates say contractors should pass on the job if it means helping construct a wall that “represents racism” and divides families across the border.

“There are certain things morally that we shouldn’t accept. This is one of them,” said Lydia Camarillo, vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.

That reaction did not surprise James Garcia, a spokesman for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which officially opposes the wall but takes no position on whether contractors should bid on it.

“It’s probably safe to say that it’s not going to be received favorably in the immigrants’ rights community,” Garcia said of the wall project.

A total of 308 companies, including 22 from Arizona, made the early April deadline to be included on the list of vendors interested in the first phase of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection project.

That first phase will seek bids for the construction of wall prototypes, 30 feet long and 18 to 30 feet high, to be built along the border near San Diego that CBP will study as it considers where other parts of the wall will be built.

The vendors list includes not just construction firms but companies offering everything from steel manufacturing to engineering, from environmental and safety consultation to logistics support.

Alfonso Moreno, who is a third-generation Mexican-American, entered his company AM Safety LLC on the list to promote his safety consultation services to companies constructing the wall. The Phoenix-based company was one of two that identified as Hispanic-American-owned among the 22 Arizona businesses on the list.

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-Cronkite News video by Adriana de Alba

Moreno’s company would not actually build the wall, but would consult with construction contractors on the job to help them make sure they meet safety regulations.

The job would offer long-term work and federal wages, Moreno said, and the scope of it would mean being part of a historic endeavor. But he said he fears that being on the list of vendors for the project will lead to his company being “blacklisted” by other companies that are opposed to the wall.

“There’s companies that will not work with me because I’m on that list,” Moreno predicted.

Camarillo said retaliation from the community should be expected when companies decide to help build a wall that has become a “shameful historical reality.”

“Businesses that choose to build the wall can expect to lose alliances and customers,” she said.

But for businesses looking for a spot on the border project and a chance to get stable, well-paid work with the government, potential opposition from the community is just a “fact of life.”

His company has seen it before, said Al Anderson, the general manager at the Hispanic-owned KWR Construction Inc. The company has worked on multiple border projects for the federal government, he said, sometimes facing people on the Mexican side of the border who threw rocks at the wall while KWR crews were working there.

That did not stopped them from completing the job then, Anderson said, and it would not deter them from vying for the project now.

“Building barriers on the border is nothing new,” he said. “If the government’s going to build a wall, we want to do it.”

Moreno said even though his family in Mexico opposes it, the financial benefit of being on the project is clear.

“It’s money,” he said. “Why not?”

7 Comments on "Advocates Criticize Latino Vendors For Bids On ‘Shameful’ Border Wall"

  1. hoi polloi boy | April 21, 2017 at 6:13 am |

    What a surprise! Real Americans of Hispanic descent put their American citizenship ahead of the caterwauling Mexicans who feel our country is their country, free to come and go as they please.

  2. The Oracle of Tucson | April 21, 2017 at 9:20 am |

    Funny thing about the majority of those opposed to the wall, they are for the most part all Latinos.
    I’m often left wondering if China faced any such resistance when they built the Great Wall of China to defend off its northern invaders.
    The wall will keep out criminal aliens who routinely invade our country. They are criminals by definition, as their illegal and unauthorized presence on US soil is a criminal act in and by itself. The majority of these criminal aliens are of Hispanic or Latino descent but they themselves have intentionally, willfully and deliberately placed themselves into this predicament.
    Claiming the wall is racist is beyond stupid, as the wall will keep everyone out regardless of their race, creed, color, religious affiliation, sexual inclination, no one will stopped by the border wall based solely on their race. So with the Democratic party closing ranks and playing the ever handy race card, it is a stretch in truth even for pathological liars.

    Insanity isn’t building the wall, insanity is not already having the wall.


  3. Somebody is going to get paid to build that wall, so go get it. Ultimately Mexico needs to pay for it. They caused it’s necessity.

  4. Welcome to international trade no different than closing outdated manufacturing plants in the Us for automated infrastructure in another country to pay the pensions of the ponzi scheme civil servant pension plans. Mexico thinks thats bad they should see our basket of sour grapes. Some think that seasonal immigrants pick those grapes but guess what all automated now. Cesar Chavez was 55 years ago From the Yuma are what has Raul brought and to the south side more despair hate and obstance so more are looking for hope that he says only he can provide.

  5. Hey just thinking about it since Raul like to go to an international court bypass the courts in the US. If Raul went to Mexico, ask Mexicans to boycott the vendors that supply for the wall. This could displace Mexicans and their families. Hurt the possibly destroy busniess doing business (competition funding cha ching) Go to the Hague bring suit on environmental grounds and sanctions those companies from international trade.( cha ching) Raul can cash again nice to be on the border so one can really ride the fence. As long as people are lead to believe there are two faces at play look at Raul.

  6. Jerome R Petruk | April 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm |

    Grijalva should be impeached for disloyalty to his oath as a Congressman to defend the constitution and the laws of the land.

  7. Common Sense | April 22, 2017 at 8:03 am |

    I have always said that there are millions of patriotic Hispanic citizens in our nation that do not buy into the democratic B.S., that the demo’s like to spread buy calling the intelligent voters, who voted republican, Bigot’s, Racist’s and other terms. Now some who are contractors are defying the demo’s like grijalva and his ilk.

    Just make it clear that they must use LEGAL American manpower and construction materials Made In America.

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