BISMARCK — A North Dakota-based company that has already received more than a billion dollars in federal funding to build segments of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was awarded a new federal contract this week to build another section of wall in Texas.
Dickinson, N.D.-based Fisher Industries has won a $289 million contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to build a 17-mile stretch of border wall near Laredo, Texas, according to a Monday, Aug. 3 news release from CBP.
Fisher Industries and its affiliate, Fisher Sand & Gravel, have drawn national attention over the last year for spearheading private projects to erect large sections of border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After reporting earlier this year revealed structural deficiencies in sections of the Fisher wall in Texas, President Donald Trump seemed to criticize the company in a tweet that disavowed their work.
"It was only done to make me look bad, and perhaps it now doesn’t even work," he wrote.
Fisher Industries has received more border wall contract funding than any other company, racking up $1.7 billion in federal contracts in the last few years. North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer said he championed the company and CEO Tommy Fisher to the president in the past, but told The Forum that he was not aware of movements for the latest contract.
The announcement came as a surprise to many residents in Laredo, where another section of the border wall was also recently approved, according to Tricia Cortez, director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, a Laredo-based group that opposes the wall.
"This is a company that's under investigation by the federal government; that hasn't completed its other projects; that has problems with its other projects," said Cortez, adding that she is "shocked" Fisher Industries has been able to qualify for large government contracts.
"This company is not welcome here. The wall is not welcome here," she said.
While Cramer said he did not help facilitate the latest contract, he told the Forum that he is "proud" of his friend Tommy Fisher.
"It's just great to have a North Dakota company doing so well on something so important as our southern border wall," he said. "I wish him continued success."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at email@example.com.