Trump told reporters after landing that he was putting himself “in great danger” by coming to the border. But, he said, “I have to do it. I love this country.” Laredo is one of Texas’s safest cities.
“If you don’t have a wall system here, we’re not gonna have a country,” Trump warned while touring the eight prototypes of the wall he promised to build to keep out illegal immigrants near San Diego in the state of California.
He said he preferred a fully concrete wall because it was the hardest to climb, but he noted that it needed to be see-through.
“The border wall is truly our first line of defense,” Trump said in remarks after a briefing with officials from Customs and Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“They’re the best friend of the criminal,” President Trump said. “That’s what exactly is happening. The criminals take refuge in these sanctuary cities and it’s very dangerous for our police and enforcement folks.”
Trump’s first to the state as president — coincided with an escalating battle between his administration and the liberal state, which Democrat Hillary Clinton easily carried in the 2016 presidential election.
California officials have defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport immigrants in the U.S. illegally, and the Justice Department sued the state last week over three of its immigration laws.
San Diego is the largest city on the U.S.-Mexico border to formally oppose his plans, passing a resolution in 2017.
Protests are also being planned across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, when Trump will examine the 30-foot-tall prototypes built along the international border to fulfill his signature campaign promise. Trump has insisted Mexico pay for the wall. Mexico has adamantly refused to consider the idea.
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.