So far, Donald Trump’s proposed border wall amounts to just eight slabs of concrete with no prospects of expanding. Nevertheless, they’re already proving politically useful for both Trump and his opponents.
Tomorrow, the US president will travel to the outskirts of San Diego to inspect the eight border wall prototypes. It is his first visit to California as president, and he will likely use the setting to attack the state’s new “sanctuary” laws, which shield immigrants from federal authorities. Last week, attorney general Jeff Sessions set the stage for his boss’s trip by suing California in federal court over those policies.
Trump opponents will be right there to make the opposite point. There are at least four anti-Trump protests on Tuesday. While their motivations vary, the wall has become a shorthand of sorts for the whole Trump administration.
The main goal for some of them is to stand up for immigrants. “Donald Trump is coming to inspect his racist, anti-immigrant wall prototypes in Otay Mesa. We need a mass mobilization of people to tell 45 that he is not welcomed on stolen land!” wrote Nuevo Movimiento, a Latino group, on Facebook.
Members of Indivisible San Diego, meanwhile, want to protest the use of taxpayer dollars to fulfill Trump’s immigration agenda. “WE SAY TO CONGRESS: HELL NO, AMERICANS WON’T PAY FOR HIS STUPID WALL!” A women’s rights group, Women’s Right San Diego, will also be there. “We need as many Marchers out as possible to show #45 what we think about his visit! Let’s tell him that we want to BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS!”
Trump supporters are organizing their own rally to celebrate the presidential visit.
The wall—or what little of it currently exists—is giving all of these groups a platform to get their message across. “This will be huge!” wrote the founder of San Diegans for Secure Borders, one of the pro-Trump groups. “Lots of local, state, and national media will be there including Fox News, CNN, Orange County Register, Desert Sun, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and many others. I have done interviews will all of these media in the past few days.”