Construction was underway Tuesday on prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall near San Diego.
Six companies from outside of California broke ground about two miles east of the Otay Mesa border truck crossing.
Early Tuesday morning, there was a heavy law enforcement presence on surrounding streets as various trucks and equipment were driven to the construction location.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, eight wall prototypes will be built, with four of the prototypes made of concrete and the other four constructed out of alternate materials.
“We are committed to securing out borders, and that includes constructing border walls. Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology and people,” said Ronald Vitiello, the acting deputy commissioner of CBP in a statement.
The eight prototypes will be between 18 and 30 feet high and “designed to deter illegal crossings in the area,” said Vitiello. Construction of the wall prototypes is expected to last about a month.
In a video taken by the NBC 7 News helicopter, a photographer captured images of dirt being graded by tractors, and rectangular cutouts, presumably where the prototypes will be built. The area runs parallel to the U.S.-Mexico border and is just a few yards away from a preexisting border fence.
Meanwhile, about two miles away, a designated “free speech” zone has been set up off Airway Road. Law enforcement officials have previously said they are prepared for the worst in the event of violent protesting.
But on Tuesday, there was no sign of any protesters or demonstrators. In fact, groups both in favor and against the wall said they aren’t aware of any organized demonstrations.
“We have no knowledge of other groups conveying any demonstrations, we are certainly not,” said Hiram Soto of the civil rights group Alliance San Diego.
“We consider the prototypes political theater for a wall that has no funding, and has really no way to exist,” said Soto.
Meanwhile, groups in favor of the wall reaffirmed their support.
“San Diego Patriots endorses the Fence/Wall and is happy to see the progress being made to secure our borders safely from foreign threats,” said Amy Sutton, the leader of the San Diego Patriots.
“The American people are concerned about the mass drug and human trafficking coming from the border,” said Sutton.
A complete border wall would still need congress to approve funding. There is also pending legal action, including a lawsuit filed by the California State Attorney General.
“We do the best of our ability and our capability irrespective of what the politics may be,” said Roy Villareal, acting Chief Border Patrol of the San Diego Sector.
“We’ll continue to provide safeguard of the border, continue to make our communities safe. We’ll make due with what we have, but the aspiration is, if we can, we should continue to improve on border security,” added Villareal.