Steve King Inspects Trump Border Wall Prototypes in San Diego

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SteveKingIA/Twitter

Today, Congressman Steve King visited a construction site in the desert outside San Diego, where contractors have been building prototypes of President Trump’s border wall under the watchful eye of the Department of Homeland Security, which is reportedly protecting them against potential protests.

King has been tweeting about his trip, which began Monday when he visited the US Border Patrol’s McAllen Station in Texas along the Mexico border to meet with border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Before visiting the site of the border wall prototypes, King toured a “smuggler’s tunnel” running from Tijuana to San Diego that was seized by the Border Patrol.

King then visited the border wall prototype construction site, where six contractors began work on eight prototypes Sept. 26 after months of planning. Congress has yet to actually fund the wall, making the construction of the prototypes amount to little more than spectacle; a spending bill drafted by Senate Republicans that includes $1.6 billion for the wall could lead to a government shutdown. Even with the funding, the full cost of constructing a border wall would likely be much higher.

Meanwhile, Trump also drew attention to the prototypes on Twitter today.

No word on how closely any of the prototypes match the model King presented on the floor of the House in 2006, when he asserted that “our little construction company could build a mile a day of this pretty easily.” Earlier this year, King showed off his model to John Kelly, who now serves as Trump’s chief of staff.

King initially only proposed a 12-foot-tall wall, whereas the current prototypes under construction will reportedly range from 18 to 30 feet in height. But King’s wall also includes an electrified barbed wire coil at the top “with the kind of current that would not kill somebody,” similar to what farmers use “with livestock all the time.”

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.