President Donald Trump has arrived in California to view prototypes for his “big beautiful border wall” amid protests and growing tensions between his administration and the state over immigration enforcement.
Chanting “No ban. No wall”, demonstrators were cheered on by honking cars and buses at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, the nation’s busiest border crossing.
President Trump’s visit coincided with an escalating war of words between his administration and the liberal state, which Democrat Hillary Clinton easily won in the 2016 presidential election.
California officials have defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport immigrants in the US illegally, and the Justice Department sued the state last week over three of its immigration laws.
The president, who arrived in San Diego on Tuesday afternoon, planned to inspect eight towering prototypes for the wall in an area of the border heavily cordoned off and far from the rallies on the US side.
Protests were planned on the Mexican side, too, in Tijuana. Trucks were parked in between the row of prototypes and the border, blocking the view from Mexico.
Demonstrators said they planned to later line up and greet people walking into the United States at the San Ysidro crossing to show Americans welcome immigrants.
President Trump is expected to be briefed on lessons learned from the construction of the prototypes built in San Diego last autumn.
He will meet with border agents and officers to ask what they need, Homeland Security spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.