Trump to visit San Diego

President to in­spect wall pro­to­types

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY JULIE WAT­SON AND KATH­LEEN RON­AYNE

SAN DIEGO — When Don­ald Trump vis­its San Diego to ex­am­ine pro­to­types of the bor­der wall, the president will be land­ing in the largest city on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der to for­mally op­pose his plans.

Nu­mer­ous ral­lies are planned by groups both for and against Trump and his push to build a “big, beau­ti­ful wall” sep­a­rat­ing the two coun­tries. Trump will make his first visit to the city Tues­day since be­ing elected. Protests are also be­ing planned across the bor­der in Ti­juana, Mex­ico.

Or­ga­niz­ers on both sides were urg­ing peo­ple to re­main peace­ful af­ter re­cent scuf­fles at ral­lies in South­ern California, in­clud­ing brawls at a Dec. 9 rally near where the pro­to­types stand.

In San Diego on Mon­day, im­mi­grant ac­tivists, church lead­ers and elected of­fi­cials held a press con­fer­ence at the city’s his­toric Chi­cano Park to call for demon­stra­tions to show bor­der com­mu­ni­ties do not sup­port a wall. Stand­ing in front of mu­rals of Mex­i­can rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, they chanted, “We re­ject your hate! We don’t need your racist wall!”

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that as a re­gion, as a city that has first­hand un­der­stand­ing of what the bor­der wall means for our com­mu­ni­ties that we stand against (this) and we send a strong mes­sage to D.C. to say this is some­thing that we don’t wel­come,” City Coun­cil­woman Ge­or­gette Gomez said Mon­day.

Gomez spon­sored a res­o­lu­tion passed by the San Diego City Coun­cil in 2017 op­pos­ing the wall, call­ing it detri­men­tal to the city’s en­vi­ron­ment and tourism. It also ex­pressed the city’s in­tent to di­vest from the com­pa­nies in­volved in the con­struc­tion, fi­nanc­ing and de­sign of the wall.

Repub­li­can Mayor Kevin Faulconer did not sup­port the res­o­lu­tion but also did not veto it. The mayor’s of­fice said Faulconer has been clear in his op­po­si­tion to walls along the bor­der but he did not want to black­list com­pa­nies in­volved in the con­struc­tion of the pro­to­types.

“When some peo­ple look at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, they see di­vi­sion,” Faulconer said in his state of the city ad­dress in 2017. “But here in San Diego we view it much dif­fer­ently. Rather than al­low­ing the bor­der to di­vide us, we’re build­ing bridges that con­nect us.”

Jeff Sch­wilk, founder of San Die­gans for Se­cure Bor­ders, whose group par­tic­i­pated in the rally in De­cem­ber near the pro­to­types that ended in clashes with counter-pro­test­ers, said the city coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion does not re­flect the views of many res­i­dents, who feel the bor­der is not se­cure. He said his or­ga­ni­za­tion re­spects free speech and hopes Tues­day’s rally will be safe for par­tic­i­pants.

“We ab­so­lutely want President Trump to feel wel­come and to come in­spect the pro­to­types so we can get the wall built,” he said.

Trump on Tues­day is ex­pected to be briefed on lessons learned from the pro­to­types’ con­struc­tion and meet with bor­der agents and of­fi­cers to ask what they need, said Jonathan Hoff­man, Home­land Se­cu­rity spokesman.

The president is de­ter­mined to ful­fill his cam­paign prom­ise and will not be swayed by California Repub­li­can law­mak­ers con­cerned the wall is a waste of money, White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee Sanders told re­porters Mon­day.

“The president cam­paigned on this; he talked about it ex­ten­sively, and he’s the president, and this is some­thing that he is not go­ing to back away from,” she said. “It’s some­thing that he’s go­ing to con­tinue to push for.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Mon­day in­vited Trump to also visit the state’s high-speed rail con­struc­tion projects.

“You see, in California we are fo­cus­ing on bridges, not walls,” Brown, a Demo­crat, said in a let­ter sent to Trump.

Trump’s visit comes just days af­ter his Jus­tice Depart­ment sued to block California laws de­signed to pro­tect peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally and U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions fol­lowed up with a speech in Sacra­mento that was im­me­di­ately de­nounced by Brown, who said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion was “full of liars.”

California At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra, who has sued the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion more than two dozen times within the past year, said he hopes the president will take away lessons about the state’s eco­nomic prow­ess, its strict gun laws and its en­vi­ron­men­tal fo­cus.

And he vowed to keep fight­ing against ef­forts to “send us back­ward.”

Peo­ple at­tend a rally against a sched­uled up­com­ing visit to the area by President Don­ald Trump on Mon­day, in San Diego. Trump is sched­uled to visit San Diego to­day, set­ting foot in California for his first time as president. AP PHOTO/GRE­GORY BULL

PHOTO/GRE­GORY BULL

Peo­ple look on in front of a mu­ral de­pict­ing he­roes of the Mex­i­can rev­o­lu­tion dur­ing a rally against a sched­uled up­com­ing visit to the area by President Don­ald Trump on Mon­day, in San Diego. AP

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