Trump's Planned Visit To San Diego Draws Supporters, Protesters and Tight Security
Border wall Protesters gather in Chicago Park in a move to change San Diego's Airport Authority. This is KPBS Midday Edition >>> Tran 20 it is Monday, March 20 12. On KPBS Midday Edition, the first of several protests against Trump next scheduled Tuesday trip to San Diego took place this morning at Chicano Park. A coalition of civic, faith and immigrants right leaders are speaking out against the border wall. President donald trump is making his visit to Southern California to inspect eight prototypes of the wall that have been built on old-time Acer. KPBS reporter gene Guerrero was at Chicano Park and welcome, Jean. >> Reporter: Who spoke at this event this morning? >> Reporter: There were a variety of groups speaking. The right consortium, lien SAN DIEGO a lot of immigrant rights activists. The American funds service committee, also quite a few environmental group Activist spoke to talk about the advent -- environmental impact that it would have on the habitat in San Diego. A big range of people about 30 to 40 people were here. There are still people hanging around although it ended a few moments ago. >>> The speaker said it would denounce the presidents proposal for a border wall. What are their arguments against the wall ? >> Reporter: One of the main arguments they talk about is they say the wall is ineffective. They repeatedly talked about how the wall has merely pushed a lot of illegal immigration that we are seeing through cities into remote areas where immigrants hundreds of immigrants die each year. There is a lot of reference to the fact that the wall has pushed people to their deaths essentially. There was a lot of talk about how it is a symbol of hate in their eyes. The wall represents in their words white supremacy. One of the people who spoke was Congressman Juan Vargas who had a lot of, he was talking about how president donald trump is not welcome in San Diego. He kept shouting that to a lot of cheers and applause and the people who were at the protests. I spoke to him, we have a comment from him. >> We have to show him when he gets here tomorrow he is not welcome. Trump is not welcome here. He will be welcome as our president if he stopped his racism. If he stopped pitting people once and for all against each other. If he acted like a president. If he had a little decency. He has none of that so he is not welcome here. >> Reporter: Mr. Vargas was one of the people who spoke. He talked about how he was making promises to impeach the promise that school president. It was very emotional. Another person who spoke was a dreamer a recipient of the DACA for people who were brought to the United States illegally. His name was Allie Turabi. He was brought to the United States as a child when he was four or five years old from Iran. The wall even though it's being built against -- between U.S. and Mexico, he said he stood very much against it because he says he believes it vilifies all immigrants not just Mexicans but people from Iran, also he talked about how it is harmful economically because of how expensive it is. We have a comment from him as well. >> I take a stand today to let this president know that my people have value. The Undocumented community has value. You cannot vilify us. This thing you are trying to construct is not only harmful and unaccountable in terms of economics, but it is harmful on unaccountable interns of human life. >> Reporter: There were a lot of different diverse different groups of people talking about their different reasons for standing against the wall and for not wanting Trump to come here and promote his -- promote the wall. >>> What other protests are planned in response to the President's visit? >> Reporter: There is a protest plan tonight at the federal building at 5:30 PM. It will be downtown this evening. A lot of groups plan to be there. This protest this afternoon was meant to get the word out about the protest that is happening tonight. They are expecting a protest tomorrow morning as well close to the site of the proto--- border wall prototypes. This is where president donald trump will be personally expecting that school inspecting the proto-wall prototypes. >> Reporter: And you will cover the presidents visited San Diego tomorrow. What will you cover? >> Reporter: We will cover the community's reaction to his visit and any protest that end up happening the other prototypes. I will be there talking to people about why they are there. also say what kind of reaction the community has two Trumps Visit. These prototypes went up last fall. They have been undergoing testing for the past two months. There have not been any results released to the public about their effectiveness yet. That will be an interesting thing to see tomorrow if the president visiting the prototypes results in any kind of official information being released about how effective these prototypes have actually proved to be in terms of resisting climbing, resisting, tunneling, always think they are being tested for. >>> Thank you very much, Jean.
UPDATE: 3:15 P.M., March 12, 2018
A few dozen San Diego residents who oppose President Trump’s border wall held a rally Monday at Chicano Park ahead of his visit to see the border wall prototypes.
Among the speakers was Congressman Juan Vargas,D-San Diego, who promised to fight to get Trump impeached.
“Trump is not welcome here!" Vargas shouted, to cheers. "He would be welcome as our president if he stopped his racism. If he stopped pitting people once and for all against each other. If he acted like a president. If he had a little decency. He has none of that so he’s not welcome here!”
Other speakers said Trump's wall is an expensive symbol of hate and that the existing wall is ineffective, because instead of stopping illegal immigration, it has pushed it into dangerous areas where people have died by the hundreds each year.
Ali Torabi is a recipient of DACA, a temporary protected status program that Trump is trying to eliminate. He was brought to the U.S. illegally from Iran when he was a boy. He said the wall promotes racism against him.
“I take a stand today to let this president know that my people have value ... you cannot vilify us," he said. "This thing you're trying to construct is not only harmful and unaccountable in terms of the economics, but it's harmful and unaccountable in terms of human life."
Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a video entitled, "Walls Work." The three-minute video says the current barrier in the San Diego sector led to an 87 percent reduction in apprehensions of those crossing the border illegally, from 560,000 in 1992 to 68,000 in 2010.
Large crowds of supporters and protesters are planning to greet President Trump in San Diego on Tuesday when he takes a firsthand look at eight, 30-foot tall border wall prototypes.
The border wall has been a signature issue for Trump in his determination to stop illegal immigration. His visit comes amid an escalating legal battle over federal immigration policies and a series of immigration arrests in San Diego and across the state. The Justice Department sued California on Tuesday over its so-called sanctuary laws.
Ahead of Trump’s visit, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has announced restrictions near the area of the prototypes. The agency is banning any items that can be used as a weapon during a fight or riot, including firearms, knives, pepper spray, rocks, baseball bats and glass bottles.
Two rallies are scheduled on Monday ahead of Trump's visit. The first, scheduled for 11 a.m. at Chicano Park, is organized by several activist groups, including Alliance San Diego, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, American Friends Service Committee and Unite Here Local 30, a union representing hotel workers. Organizers said the rally will show that San Diegans are united against the "wasteful, harmful and irresponsible'' plan to build the wall, according to a news release about the event.
A second protest on Monday, organized by Union del Barrio, will take place outside the downtown Federal Building at 880 Front St. at 5 p.m.
More demonstrations on both sides are in the works for Tuesday. A group of Trump supporters, including San Diegans for Secure Borders, San Diego Patriots and the Remembrance Project, is organizing a rally at 10 a.m. near the border wall prototypes at 10200 Enrico Fermi Dr.
Activist group Nuevo Movimento is planning a 9 a.m. protest near the prototypes to denounce the wall. "We, the people of all races, ethnicities, backgrounds, immigration statuses, and orientations will come together at Otay Mesa, as close to the walls and to Trump as possible, and speak out against his racist regime," the group stated on its Facebook page.
Another activist group called Indivisible San Diego will protest the wall on Tuesday in an event titled "Taxpayers Resist Trump's Wall," at 9:30 a.m. outside of the IRS building located at the corner of F and Front streets.
The last time Trump was in San Diego was during a campaign rally in May 2016. Police in riot gear dispersed a crowd of 1,000 demonstrators, some who were hurling bottles and rocks. Three dozen arrests were made.
Following the border visit, the president will speak to troops at MCAS Miramar before heading to a Republican National Committee fundraiser in Los Angeles.