Earlier today I wrote about some of the protests and preparation for President Trump’s visit to San Diego to tour the border wall prototypes. Trump has now reviewed the prototypes and spent some time discussing them with the media that was on hand. Business Insider points out that Trump seemed to favor a design used by two of the 8 prototypes:
On the trip, Trump emphasized that the wall needs to be difficult to climb, and described some immigrants as “professional mountain climbers.” He also made some key statements that may hint at which wall designs he favors.
First, he noted his preference for a see-through wall, and then specified two materials: concrete and steel. (In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in January, Trump also explained that the wall needs to be transparent, because he “wants to see.”)
“We’re looking very much at the wall with some see-through capability on the other side, and then solid concrete on top — or steel and concrete on top,” Trump said on Tuesday.
Only two of the wall prototypes have see-through portions near the ground designed to allow border patrol agents to keep an eye on what is happening on the other side of the wall. You can see all 8 prototypes in this photo. Only the two in the middle of the bottom row are partially see-through:
BREAKING: President Donald Trump to visit prototypes of border wall in San Diego – LA Times pic.twitter.com/dEiUDSg3Io
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 7, 2018
In addition to his comments on the need for a wall, Trump was asked about Gov. Jerry Brown’s criticism of the cost of building it. “Governor Brown’s done a very poor job running California,” Trump said. He continued, “They have the highest taxes in the United States. The place is totally out of control. You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities. And then the Mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when ICE is going in to pick ’em up…No I think the Governor is doing a terrible job running the state of California.” Despite the criticism of his record, Trump did go on to say that Brown was a “nice guy.”
Meanwhile, Reuters notes that residents of Tijuana didn’t sound impressed with any of the prototypes:
“The size of these walls is not going to matter,” said Rogelio Perez, 48, who lives in the trash-strewn sprawl of cinderblock homes and makeshift huts grouped around a lot for abandoned cars, in sight of the 30-foot (9 meter)-high concrete and steel models.
“I even think they’ll try to cross with those pole vaults that they use in the Olympics,” he said as he awaited Trump’s visit…
Salome Pacheco, said migrants would find ways to tunnel through, or resort to sea crossings to get into the United States.
“The wall is just a waste of money. People will continue to cross, here, there, and everywhere.”
She’s right that the wall, assuming it gets built, won’t completely stop people coming across the border. But the U.S. plays a role in encouraging or discouraging the number of people who attempt to cross and where they attempt it. As I noted earlier today, the existing fence in the same area where these prototypes stand is so easy to cross that a family with toddlers can do it. That won’t be the case if one of these prototypes are built.