One of President Trump’s central campaign promises was to build a new, reinforced wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. One year after the presidential election, there are border wall prototypes erected in San Diego. The mini walls were submitted and constructed by companies hoping to win the contract with the U.S. government to construct the full or sections of the border wall. Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), praised the prototypes during a press conference as being essential to the overall goal of Border Patrol stating.
“Border security relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, and personnel,” he said during the press conference.
There are eight border wall prototypes standing along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego. They are the first physical indicators of President Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall along the southern border.
President Trump is one step closer to building his border wall. Today, contractors unveiled their border wall prototypes near San Diego. pic.twitter.com/ETjBpiiIHP
— WTVYNews4 (@WTVYNews4) October 26, 2017
According to Vitiello, the prototypes are 30 feet high and about 18 feet wide. Contractors were given $300,000 to $500,000 to complete their prototypes.
“Border walls have proven to be to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal flow of people and drugs over many years,” he said at the press conference. “Specifically, walls are part of a border enforcement zone which includes roads, lights and surveillance technology.”
The choice to build the prototypes in San Diego was not random.
— KTLA (@KTLA) October 27, 2017
According to Vitiello’s speech, San Diego is the most active area for border crossings. He told the press that in 2016, Border Patrol detained 31,000 people crossing the border, 9,200 pounds of marijuana and more than 1,300 pounds of cocaine.
Immigration activists are concerned about the wall and its potential to create a more dangerous journey for those heading north.
— La Prensa San Diego (@LaPrensaSD) November 7, 2017
Border Angels is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that works for immigrant and human rights. Founder Enrique Morones says the border wall that is currently in place has led to the deaths of 11,000 people since 1994. However, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol places the number of deaths between 1998 and 2016 at 6,915.
Now that the walls are built, CBP will start testing the structures.
— Casey Tolan (@caseytolan) November 9, 2017
Vitiello said no testing will occur for 30 days as they wait for concrete to set. Testing will take between 30 and 60 days. Vitiello wasn’t specific about how the walls will be tested and further requests for clarification from CBP went unanswered. According to the CBP website, the walls will be tested to make sure they cannot be breached, climbed or dug under while remaining safe for Border Patrol and denying unchecked access across the border.
Stay tuned as mitú continues to cover this story as it develops.