Eladio Sanchez is unimpressed by the eight border wall prototypes looming over his house in Tijuana, Mexico, almost within spitting distance of where US President Donald Trump will visit Tuesday.
At age 30, he has already snuck over the border several times, and doesn’t expect Trump’s wall will have much effect on undocumented migrants like him.
Pointing to the only prototype with an angular barrier at the top — a concrete structure built by Texas Sterling Construction Company — Sanchez says that one might slow him down a little more than the others.
But, he told AFP, “you can get over it anyway.”
“It’s just a little more complicated. But people are always looking for a way to get over — out of necessity, not because we want to.”
In Tijuana, Trump’s visit to the prototypes looks like just the latest slap in the face from a man who launched his presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists” and has since driven US-Mexican relations to their lowest point in recent memory.
It’s as if “he wants to come just to tell us he’s here, that he’s going to do what he promised with the wall,” says Sanchez, who lives in a small gray house in a poor neighborhood that juts up against the border, across from Otay Mesa, on the outskirts of San Diego.
We will never pay
Sanchez has watched the barrier between the United States and Mexico grow over the years, blocking his view of the mountains more every time.
It started with a fence built during the Bill Clinton administration, then was beefed up with barbed wire.
“They just keep adding more, making it taller,” he said from his rooftop.
From there, he has an unimpeded view of the hulking prototypes, which stand about nine meters (30 feet) tall and cost $300,000 to $500,000 each.
If Trump gets his way, whichever prototype or prototypes win will snake across much of the nearly 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) border.
The cost is estimated at up to $20 billion. Trump’s insistence that Mexico will foot the bill is a source of national outrage.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reportedly canceled plans for a visit to Washington recently over the issue — the second time he has done so. “He firmly repeated what all Mexicans have always said: We will never pay for a wall on the border,” said Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.