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The Border Wall Prototypes Are Up In San Diego. Here’s What That Means

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


READ: MSNBC Was Reporting On the Border Wall Prototypes In San Diego When They Caught Migrants Crossing The Border

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5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

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5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

Raquel Reichard / PR on The Map

Puerto Ricans are inventors — and not just of arresting music and mouthwatering dishes. Boricuas have developed technology that makes space travel more efficient for NASA astronauts, helps physicians operate on the tiniest parts of the human body and enables people around the world to filter water. So it’s no surprise that islanders are getting creative in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean island, wiping out electricity and potable water, everyday puertorriqueños tapped into their inner innovator, developing machinery to help them persevere without the most basic necessities. Here, just five ways the people of Puerto Rico are using their hands and minds to create tools for survival and leisure.

1. Collecting Water

Hay que inventársela para poder tener agua. 💪

Posted by Puerto Rico Tiene Cojone on Monday, October 2, 2017

Video Credit:  Puerto Rico Tiene Cojone

Throughout the island, everyday people are using pipes to funnel water from natural springs into towns, where community members gather with buckets and empty soda bottles to collect water they’ll use to bathe, clean and cook.

2. Filtering Water

Video Credit:  Kat Lazo / PR on The Map

In Río Piedras, Jornada: Se Acabron las Promesas, an organization providing free breakfast for the community, connects a portable filter to a bucket, providing clean water for the people to drink or make coffee with.

3. Showering

Photo Credit:  Raquel Reichard / PR on The Map

In Vega Baja, Tito Kayak, an activist and founder of the Puerto Rican environmental group Amig@s Del Mar, hangs a bucket above his bathtub and connects it to a shower head. When he places water in the bucket and turns the knob, he and his family are able to take showers even without running water.

4. Washing Clothes

Mi esposo y la nueva maquina de lavar ropa

Posted by Jenny Mejias on Sunday, October 22, 2017

Video Credit:  Jenny Mejias

Across Puerto Rico, people are coming up with innovative ways to wash clothes. Here, a man uses a barrel to construct a manual washing machine. In other towns, folks have made similar designs with buckets and hand ringers.

5. Enjoying Movie Nights

Photo Credit:  Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi / Defend PR

While adults and elders are concerned about basic necessities to survive, children, who don’t have as much of a grasp of the humanitarian, climate and debt crises, are looking for entertainment. Without electricity or Internet access, video games and TV are not options. But a group of people are providing a traveling Cine Solar, an outdoor movie night for kids powered entirely by solar panels. The free event, made possible by local activists Edgardo Larregui and Coco de Oro and stateside Puerto Ricans like FistUpTv, Defend Puerto Rico and Bay Area Boricuas, even comes with popcorn. Cine Solar has so far gone to Santurce, Yabucoa, Lloren and Palomas.

Reporting for this article was made possible through PR on The Map, a Latinx independent media team put together by grassroots organizer and former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente to produce unfiltered, unapologetic and intergenerational coverage on Puerto Rico. Donate to PR on The Map here.


READ: Donald Trump Said Puerto Rico Wants ‘Everything To Be Done For Them,’ But These Women Are Proving Him Wrong

These are just some of the inventions we’ve seen in Puerto Rico. Let us know of the innovations you’ve heard about or came across in the comments.