14 March, 2018
President Donald Trump has eagerly inspected prototypes on display in California for his "big handsome border wall" amid peaceful protests but growing tensions between his administration and the state over immigration enforcement.
Said Trump: "If you didn't have walls over here you wouldn't even have a country".
Also at the site, awaiting him in contrasting silence, are the roughly 30-foot mockups the Department of Homeland Security picked to give a closer look - four of which are solid concrete, while the other four are built of "other materials", including steel.
"I have friends who have lost children at the hands of illegal aliens that were protected by sanctuary policies, yet all we hear from the left are stories about poor illegals".
On Twitter, Trump said the wall will pay for itself, a shift from his oft-repeated statements during his 2016 presidential campaign that Mexico would pay. Such decision represented a victory for Trump, but it did not mean the construction would start immediately, because Congress still has to authorize or allocate funds to begin the project.
A sign hung over a fence on the Mexican side of the border summed up the sentiment: "Trump, we will not pay for your wall". "No wall!" near the San Ysidro crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the USA daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego.
Demonstrators said they planned to line up and greet people walking into the United States at the San Ysidro crossing to show Americans welcome immigrants.
But upon hearing that he'll travel by helicopter from the Miramar base to the border, organizers of Women's March San Diego announced plans to erect a large sign urging Trump to "build bridges, not walls" with the hope that he'll be able to see it while landing at the nearby prototype site.
The visit comes as Trump and his administration have voiced increasing anger at California's refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
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Trump has not yet received funding for the envisioned wall.
On his way to the viewing, Mr Trump tweeted: "California's sanctuary policies are illegal and unconstitutional and put the safety and security of our entire nation at risk".
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer - who is not expected to meet with Trump during his visit - did not support a 2017 city resolution formally opposing the border, but he also did not veto it. Trump is scheduled to visit San Diego, Tuesday, setting foot in California for his first time as president.
Several groups are planning peaceful protests on the Mexican side, but a Federal Police official said they are not going to be allowed near the prototype area. In July 2015, just weeks after declaring his candidacy, Trump traveled to Laredo, Texas, accompanied by a presidential-sized motorcade that included two coach buses packed with reporters. But, he said, "I have to do it".
"But bridges are still better than walls", Brown said.
Not long after Trump touched down in San Diego just before noon, swarms of demonstrators rallying against his administration and his supporters were already out in full force - divided by a row of uniformed officers holding onto batons. Others say they understand why people want to secure the border more.
Berkeley, Oakland and other cities have sought to stop doing business with firms involved with the wall, prompting the Associated General Contractors of America to ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue to prevent states and localities from denying contracts or divesting from companies that participate in the barrier's construction.
On Monday Sanders stressed that the wall is something Trump "is not going to back away from" and will continue to push for.
"I don't think it's really fair how he has the choice to separate us", said González, a dual citizen who lives in Tijuana and crosses daily to work at a San Diego ramen restaurant.