Elon Musk, and specifically SpaceX, has a little known but large stake in the border security battle that’s currently taking place in Congress. One of the company's launch pads, located on the US–Mexico border, risks being split in two by the proposed future border wall. But of course, Democrats are standing up for SpaceX, trying to stop the Trump administration’s efforts to erect a border barrier that would cut through the company's facility in Boca Chica, Texas.
Lawmakers commented last week that they were concerned about the impact on SpaceX after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map that shows a barrier running through the 50 acre facility, according to Bloomberg.
Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, a California Democrat said: “This issue with SpaceX is that the fence cuts right through their property and that’s a problem.” Roybal-Allard is continuing to fight for the area to be exempted in any finalized deal.
Both Democrats and Republicans working on a border security deal are now stating that they are getting closer to an agreement that would likely include funding for some type of barrier. However, the negotiation is yet to work out exactly where the structures are going to be located, what they would look like, or how much would be spent on them. The goal is to work out an agreement for the wall so that it can be voted on before government funding again runs out on February 15.
The company is said to be unhappy about the plans, despite not raising any public objections to them.
Representative Filemon Vela, a Democrat whose district includes the SpaceX facility said: "They are way behind the scenes on this, they are lying pretty low. SpaceX doesn’t want to offend DHS."
SpaceX has not lobbied Congress regarding the issue and hasn’t asked anyone to do so on its behalf, according to the company. The company declined to provide details to Bloomberg when asked. A SpaceX spokesman said:
“The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently requested SpaceX permit access to our South Texas Launch site to conduct a site survey,” he said in a statement.
“At this time, SpaceX is evaluating the request and is in communication with DHS to further understand their plans.”
The 500 jobs that SpaceX planned and promised back during the launchpad's 2014 opening could be at risk. Vela continued: "This is a real problem. None of it makes any sense."
This wouldn’t be the first time an Elon Musk company had trouble living up to its job promises that it used to ascertain taxpayer money. Just days ago we reported that State Senator Tim Kennedy of New York was "infuriated" by layoffs that took place at the company's Buffalo facility.
The site in Texas would play host to SpaceX's launch of its new Starship Hopper – the very same "starship" that fell over after a gust of wind hit it a couple weeks ago. To insanity and beyond!