Border wall approved by a federal judge despite Congress’ refusal to fund the project
Next week, President Donald Trump plans to visit California to inspect the site of his long-desired border wall, the White House announced on Wednesday, March 7.
During a tour around of the state, the president is expected to travel to San Diego on Tuesday, March 13 to take a tour of the eight prototypes for the proposed massive U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Although Congress has yet to confirm funding for the massive wall that would span California to Texas, the prototypes were completed in October.
The president and his crew are expected to be greeted by supporters as well as opposers of the wall, which has prompted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) to secure the San Diego community of Otay Mesa where the prototypes are located.
“In preparation for demonstrations and in an effort to protect the rights of citizens to peacefully protest, the Sheriff has requested and been granted ‘Temporary Area Restrictions,’” the SDSO said in a statement.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), each prototype is 30-feet tall and 25-feet wide and is composed of concrete and other substances.
Trump’s visit comes just weeks after a federal judge granted permission to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, despite not yet receiving funding from Congress.
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel for the Southern District of California — who was previously insulted by the president for his Mexican heritage — sided with the Trump administration on Tuesday, February 27.
Curiel rejected arguments from the state of California which argued that the administration did not get the required environmental reviews before construction on the prototypes began in October.
The president’s proposed wall was a key proponent in his presidential campaign. It drew wide criticism from voters and lawmakers for perpetuating anti-immigrant ideas and imagery.
Critics also questioned the sheer cost of the massive wall; at one point during his campaign, he casually suggested that Mexico would pay for it to which Mexico vehemently rejected.
Previously, Trump has requested $1.6 billion from Congress for the first portion of the wall. This installment would replace 14 miles of existing fencing in San Diego and replace it with a 60-mile fortress that would extend to Rio Grande Valley in Texas, which sees large influxes of illegal crossings.
Funding for the border wall has been among the few hotly contested immigration issue in Washington, and it has acted as Trump’s singular condition for approving a solution for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump terminated in 2017.
Members of Congress from both parties — who have been scrambling to put together a compromise for DACA — are fervently opposed to the border wall which has led to many impasses on the ongoing immigration talks in Washington.
Local policymakers have also opposed the border wall. In September, the San Diego City Council voted along party lines to approve a resolution in September opposing the wall.
“I want to make sure we are sending a strong message, not only to my colleagues at the city level but also to San Diegans and beyond, that a border wall is not something we need, and it’s something we reject as San Diegans,” Councilmember Georgette Gomez, who kickstarted the resolution, told the San Diego Union-Tribune in September. “It’s a bad deal for everybody, but more specifically, it’s a bad deal for us.”
Councilmember Chris Ward, who also voted in favor of the resolution, said that the border wall would inflict emotional damage to the immigrant-rich city.
“San Diego is a binational city and more importantly, we are a city that’s been built by immigrants and continues to succeed on our own diversity,” Ward said. “We are the largest city on the border and the rest of America does look to local opinion to see how we feel.”
Trump’s visit to the Golden State will be the first one since winning the election in November 2016. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)