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Politics

Trump protesters and advocates assemble in San Diego




A fence runs along the US-Mexico border between the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry in and near San Diego, California, across from Tijuana, Mexico (L). The barrier seperating the two countries known to many as the 'border fence' or the 'border wall' is in reality several barriers, designed to prevent illegal movement across the border, backed by supporters and criticized by opponents.
A fence runs along the US-Mexico border between the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry in and near San Diego, California, across from Tijuana, Mexico (L). The barrier seperating the two countries known to many as the 'border fence' or the 'border wall' is in reality several barriers, designed to prevent illegal movement across the border, backed by supporters and criticized by opponents.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

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In anticipation of President Trump's visit to San Diego, demonstrators gathered to show support for the proposed border wall while others assembled in protest. 

President Trump landed at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego this morning and then headed to the U.S.–Mexico border to inspect prototypes for the controversial border wall.

Supporters gathered near the prototype site, while those protesting President Trump's immigration policies were at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Protests also took place yesterday in San Diego; messaging at those events focused on the myriad reasons that a border wall is a bad idea, according to KPBS reporter Jean Guerrero. 

The people who I spoke with yesterday had a similar message ...  saying that the border wall is a symbol of hate, that it promotes racism against immigrants, that it is needlessly expensive and that it is ineffective because ... the existing border infrastructure that we have, about 600 miles along the 2000-mile border, has essentially rerouted a lot of the traffic, a lot of the illegal immigration and smuggling that we saw through cities was was pushed to the desert, into the ocean, particularly in areas like Arizona ... hundreds of people dying each year. 

Meanwhile, Trump supporters at the wall prototype inspection site brought a different take. 

They want to welcome Trump. ... They are called the San Diego Minutemen, they formed this group that used to patrol the border to stop people from coming through illegally. ... They still very much advocate against illegal immigration. 

The two demonstrations planned for today were initially intended to take place near each other, at the wall protoypes, but concerns about conflicts between the groups led to their separation. Security at the San Ysidro site is minimal, but San Diego police was be prepared to keep the peace at the wall prototype site.