McALLEN, TEXAS (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has awarded a construction contract worth $175 million for an additional 15 miles of new border wall to be built in Starr County, according to a news release issued Monday morning.

This is in addition to 15 miles of new border wall awarded to a New Mexico company — also to be built in Starr County — that the agency announced on March 2.

CBP has said all 55 miles surrounding the rural South Texas county will be walled off, but local leaders have said they have been taken by surprise by these announcements.

Read a Border Report story on the March 2 awarding of border wall miles in Starr County.

A Border Patrol spokesman in the Rio Grande Valley when asked about this news release early Monday was not aware of it. The information had been sent from the agency’s Washington, D.C. office.

Rose Benavidez, president of the Starr County Industrial Foundation, who represents the unincorporated areas of the county, said she also was not aware of this new contract.

“This is the first that I hear,” Benavidez told Border Report. “I have to go back and see all those announcements to see where they are with all the awarding of the miles for Starr County. This is the first we hear of it. … This 15 are new and what is also new is this particular company,” said Rose Benavides.

The contract was awarded to Randy Kinder Excavating, Inc., a company based in Dexter, Mo. The company also goes under the name RKE Contractors and was registered less than a month ago, on Feb. 20, according to

This is the first such border wall contract awarded to this company in the Rio Grande Valley, and it comes amid massive coronavirus fears and calls for border wall money to be diverted to halt the stop of the deadly novel virus that causes COVID-19.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency and released $50 billion to fight COVID-19. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the emergency measure, which still needs Senate approval.

Border Report requested maps and an exact location for this contract, as well as the previous 15-mile contract. This story will be updated if the information is received.

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