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Trump views designs for border wall while bashing California

AP  |  San Diego 

has eagerly inspected eight towering prototypes for his long-sought wall at the US-border and accused of putting "the entire nation at risk" by refusing to take tough action against illegal immigration.

Trump, making his first trip to as president, said he preferred a fully concrete wall because it was the hardest to climb, but he noted that it needed to be see-through. He said the first thing he noticed on the drive to the border was the patched-up holes in part of the existing fence.

"We have a lousy wall over here now, but at least it stops 90, 95 per cent," Trump said.

"When we put up the real wall, we're going to stop 99 per cent. Maybe more than that."

Trump's visit was greeted with peaceful protests by demonstrators both for and against his planned wall. The trip came amid an escalating battle between his administration and the liberal state, which has refused to help federal agents detain immigrants in the US illegally.

The renewed his criticism of Jerry Brown, saying yesterday that he was presiding over sky-high tax rates and that the state's sanctuary policies "put the entire nation at risk." "They're the best friend of the criminal," 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."

The Justice Department last week sued to block a trio of laws designed to protect people living in the U.S. illegally. Brown accused US of "going to war" with to appease Trump.

After leaving the border, Trump basked in the cheers of US Marines in Miramar, pointing to his work to build up the nation's military.

He also suggested there may someday be a "space force" fighting alongside the nation's military branches.

Referencing his 2016 campaign showdown against Hillary Clinton, she received 4 million more votes than Trump in California, the vowed that "very soon we're going to Mars" and the nation would not be seeking to explore the red planet had his opponent won.

Trump later attended a near Los Angeles, where he was staying overnight. Guests paid up to USD 250,000 to attend the event at the home of Ed Glazer, of the

The money raised will go to a joint fundraising committee that benefits Trump's 2020 re-election campaign and the

A few hundred protesters for and against Trump faced off at a park. A group of pro-immigration demonstrators chanted, "Say it now, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here."

Demonstrations were also held at the of entry in San Diego, the nation's busiest border crossing, where protesters chanted, "No ban! No wall!" as honking cars and buses cheered them on. Protests were also held on the Mexican side, in

At San Ysidro, Jose Gonzalez, 21, stopped to snap a photo of the protesters holding signs, including one that read: "Wall off Putin!" in reference to Russian Vladimir Putin, who has a seemingly close relationship with Trump.

"I don't think it's really fair how he has the choice to separate us," said Gonzalez, a dual citizen who lives in and crosses the border daily to work at a ramen restaurant.

Army veteran Mark Prieto, 48, shook his head as he walked by the protest.

"People are so narrow-minded," the Riverside firefighter said as the crowd chanted. "Finally we have someone who is putting first." His wife, Corina Prieto, a who has extended family in Mexico, agreed. Both voted for Trump. "I think he is doing a lot of good, like protecting our Border Patrol," she said.

Carla Provost, acting Border Patrol chief, said Trump "walked away with great understanding of the requirements we have on the border." She and other agents briefed the on beefed-up security in California, and over the years and cautioned that any changes need to preserve the ability to see what's happening on the other side. Provost said has so far funded 40 miles of replacement wall 14 miles in San Diego, 2 miles in Calexico, California, and 24 miles in El Paso,

Trump is seeking USD 25 billion from to extend the wall but Democratic leaders have balked. His insistence that pay has gotten no traction.

San Diego's criticized Trump's short visit, saying the wouldn't get a full picture of the city. said a popular cross-border airport terminal connecting and shows that "building bridges has worked wonders."

Faulconer, writing in The Union-Tribune, also said police work to protect everyone regardless of immigration status, an apparent dig at Trump's push to target illegal immigration.

Trump tweeted about California's immigration policies as he flew to the state aboard

"California's sanctuary policies are illegal and unconstitutional and put the safety and security of our entire nation at risk. Thousands of dangerous & violent criminal aliens are released as a result of sanctuary policies, set free to prey on innocent Americans. THIS MUST STOP!" he wrote.

This isn't Trump's first visit to the border. He traveled to Laredo, one of Texas' safest cities, weeks after declaring his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump told reporters then 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.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 11:05 IST