By Macy Jenkins

AVERY (CBS 13) – The Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for companies looking to help design President Donald Trump’s wall on the Mexican border. More than 600 companies have put in bids, including a handful in Northern California.

“They’re just bringing drugs over and we can’t vet them and we don’t know who they are so build the wall,” said Rick Aguilar, CEO of Construction Technology Network in Avery. “There isn’t any politics that puts money in my pocket, so help building this wall is not something political to me.”

Nearly 100 miles outside of Sacramento, Rick Aguilar runs a construction support business from his home office in Avery. With six part-time employees, he’s always looking for any opportunities for work.

“If a contractor’s contract is $300 million he’s gotta take 58% of that $300 million and give it out to small businesses,” Aguilar explained.

That was his incentive to put his company’s name in the running – to help build the 2,000-mile wall on the Mexican Border. The wall is one of the most contentious issues of President Trump’s campaign and administration. Aguilar has been in construction for 25 years and said his company can offer cost estimators, scheduling; and claims work to the project.

But when it comes to government money, it’s not just conservative business owners who are interested.

“If the country is going to go ahead with this, then I want us to do it in the smart way,” said Liz Derr, the co-founder and CEO of Simularity, an artificial intelligence software company in the Bay Area.

Derr is a Democrat who wants her company to play a part in the plans. She said her software can recognize illegal border crossings with satellite images and sensors.

“The technology for building walls is 10,000 years old and we’ve got way better technology now and it’s way more cost-effective,” she said.

But Assemblyman Phil Ting has new legislation on the table (AB 946) to discourage companies from building the wall. If passed, the state would require the country’s top two pension funds to liquidate any investments in the companies involved.

“Californians build bridges not walls,” Ting said. “This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it.”


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