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San Diego County feels the impact of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 20:39:09-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - While the debate is continuing to rage across the country over President Trump's proposed border wall, San Diegans are already feeling the financial impacts locally. 

The County said Thursday that it was concerned about large scale protests just like with the Keystone Pipeline last year.

San Diego County to date has spent more than $1.5 million extra in salaries and overtime to protect against them. 

It's just one of the local impacts coming to light as work continues on eight border wall prototypes on the southern end of the county.

"The real question is, what benefit is San Diego County getting out of it," said Seth Kaplowitz, a finance lecturer at San Diego State University. 

Kaplowitz says there may be a boost in some local construction jobs and certainly business near the construction site would benefit. 

When it comes to taxpayers, it's a different story.

In the last three months of 2017, the County paid more than $1.5 million in salaries and overtime in activity related to the wall, such as protecting private property near it from protests. 

In just one month last year, San Diego Police spent $826,000 for extra personnel and supplies.

Those are just a couple of the knowns.

Kaplowitz says the bigger the project gets, the more impacts it could have.

"What about traffic? What about access to the border? For the people that do international business? That's going to be a problem," he said.

There's still no official cost estimate but President Trump has said the wall doesn't need to extend the 2,000 miles that separate the US and Mexico, which can have very steep terrain. 

"It's just rough, tough to be thinking about any kind of major construction," said Lowell Lindsay, CEO of Sunbelt Publications, which released a book detailing the terrain. 

Trump has tied the border wall funding to a deal to keep so-called Dreamers from being deported. There is a March deadline for a deal.