Members of the U.S. military will spend a month painting a milelong barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort “to improve the aesthetic appearance,” according to a border official.
The beautification project in Calexico, California, will use black paint and cost approximately $150,000, using funding from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s tactical infrastructure maintenance funding, the official told HuffPost in a statement.
“While the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall, CBP believes there may also be an operational benefit based on our experience with painted barrier in Nogales, Arizona,” the official said.
Benefits of painting the vertical posts, called bollards, include thwarting potential “camouflaging tactics of illegal border crossers” and increasing the difficulty of scaling it, the official said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) criticized the painting project on Twitter, saying members of Congress were just informed of the plans by the Department of Homeland Security.
“A disgraceful misuse of taxpayer $$,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “Our military has more important work to do than making Trump’s wall beautiful.”
CBS News first confirmed the paint job.
Last month The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump instructed that the bollards, or “slats” as he calls them, be painted “flat black.”
The dark color would absorb more heat in the summer, making the metal harder to climb, he argued. He also asked that the tips of the bollards be pointed so that they could put climbers at risk of injury.
He’s reportedly also complained that the current structures are ugly.
One administration official lamented the upkeep that painting the bollards would cause.
“Once you paint it, you always have to paint it,” the official told the Post.
This story has been updated with comment from a CBP official.