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President Trump visits Southern California, tours US-Mexico border in Calexico

Posted at 5:53 AM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 20:39:47-04

(KGTV) - President Trump visited the southern border in California Friday to get a first-hand look at a section of new fencing in Calexico.

The president’s Southern California visit comes following his threats to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border and impose tariffs on America’s southern neighbor.

Prior to touring a 2.5-mile section of replacement wall in Calexico, President Trump declared "our country is full" during a round table discussion with federal and local border officials.

RELATED: TIMELINE: Trump's border wall

"There is indeed an emergency on our southern border," Trump said, adding there has also been an uptick in illegal crossings. "It's a colossal surge, and it's overwhelming our immigration system. We can't take you anymore. Our country is full."

A plaque on the fencing, proclaiming it to be the first section of the president’s proposed border wall, highlighted the President's ambitions to construct new barrier across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“They’re begging me for the wall in San Diego … because the people were pouring through in San Diego. Going over the front lawns, going into people’s houses,” President Trump said during his Calexico border tour.

This fencing, however, was initially requested during President Obama’s time in office, but the project did not start until last year.

RELATED: Possible border shutdown causes widespread concern

Groups in support and opposing the President lined nearby streets in El Centro and Calexico, supporters with signs and clad in "Make America Great Again" apparel while anti-Trump demonstrators flew a "Baby Trump" balloon near the barrier.

Following his Calexico tour, Trump will travel to Beverly Hills for a campaign fundraiser.

Here are questions and answers about the various barriers along the border and those that are in the works as Trump attempts to carry out his signature campaign promise.


The southern border is nearly 2,000 miles long and already has about 650 miles of different types of barriers, including short vehicle barricades and tall, steel fences that go up to 30 feet high. Most of the fencing was built during the administration of George W. Bush, and there have been updates and maintenance throughout other administrations.


Trump has yet to complete any new mileage of fencing or other barriers anywhere on the border. His administration has only replaced existing fencing, including the section he is touring Friday.

Construction for that small chunk of fencing cost about $18 million, began in February 2018 and was completed in October. Plans to replace that fence date back to 2009, during the beginning of former President Barack Obama's tenure.

Contractors have been doing site and preparation work for 13 miles of barriers in the Rio Grande Valley that will be Trump's first new fencing. The administration said construction could begin as early as this week. The administration is also in the process of replacing 14 miles of fencing around San Diego.

"The wall is under construction, by the way, large sections. We're going to be meeting, I think on Friday, at a piece of the wall that we've completed, a big piece, a lot of it's being built right now," he told reporters Thursday. "It's moving along very nicely. But we need the wall."


Early in his term, Trump called for prototypes of border walls that were built in the San Diego area at a cost of about $300,000 to $500,000 each. Eight prototypes went up, and Trump traveled to the border to inspect them last year.

But they were demolished in February. The nearly $3 billion that Congress provided for barriers during the first half of Trump's term requires the money be spent on designs that were in place before May 2017, which meant the prototypes couldn't be used.

The prototypes became a spectacle at various times since Trump took office, drawing tourists, protesters and artists who projected light shows on the walls from Mexico.


Trump shut down the federal government for more than a month -- the longest shutdown in U.S. history -- and later declared a national emergency to free up billions of dollars to build his wall. Congress had voted to block the emergency declaration but Trump vetoed the measure.

Several organizations brought lawsuits over the declaration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats also planned on suing to prevent Trump from "stealing" money from federal programs and diverting the money to build a wall.

But the national emergency money has not yet been spent in part because the government has to first spend existing border wall funding. A lawsuit could eventually derail the plan.

Still, various plans for more border barriers are moving along.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security requested that the defense department build 57 miles of 18-foot fencing near Yuma, Arizona and El Paso, Texas, which have seen enormous increases in the number of border crossers, especially families.