Skip to main content

Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes Crumble Under Demolition Crews

Trump's border wall prototypes crumble under demolition crews in Otay Mesa, F...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Trump's border wall prototypes crumble under demolition crews in Otay Mesa, Feb. 27, 2018.

The steel and concrete prototypes that once stood 30 feet tall in various colors crumbled beneath demolition crews in Otay Mesa on Wednesday. Dust flew into the air as they were destroyed. Steel and chunks of concrete are sticking out of the ruins.

Border Patrol agent Justin Castrejon told KPBS that the prototypes served their purpose because they helped inform the design of future walls.

“It’s gonna give agents a lot more confidence in the area they’re working and more safety for our agents and safety for communities in San Diego," Castrejon said.

The eight prototypes were torn down to make way for a 30-foot secondary replacement wall under construction in this area. The San Diego-Tijuana border region has double-layered fencing that is being replaced with walls that are roughly double the height.

President Trump toured the site of the prototypes and praised them last March, saying they would help deter 99 percent of smugglers. But KPBS obtained government records showing that all eight prototypes were deemed vulnerable to at least one known breaching technique that took testing teams by surprise.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said that in five years, existing fencing was breached more than 9,000 times. And two decades of maintenance cost more than $1 billion, due in part to breach repair.

The prototypes were a $5 million project with costs for the demolition included in the budget, according to Border Patrol.

While Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to obtain millions of dollars for his wall after Congress decided not to approve the funds, the House voted to block the declaration this week.

The prototypes for President Trump’s border wall were being demolished in Otay Mesa on Wednesday.

You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego Stories, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.