There were to be no groups exercising their free speech in the “Free Speech Zone” on the occasion of President Donald Trump’s border wall prototypes inspection tour. Organizers took a look at what was being offered by the San Diego County Sheriffs and said “no thanks.”
Both anti-Trump/Border Wall protests scheduled near the site of the prototypes in Otay Mesa during President Trump’s visit relocated themselves to San Ysidro late on Monday.
***This post will be updated throughout the day***
One of the groups, led by Nuevo Movimento and San Diego Protests opted to meet up at San Ysidro border crossing earlier in the morning. The Women’s March protest merged into the San Diego Organizing Project’s noon gathering at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in San Ysidro.
Elected officials, including State Senator Kevin de León, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the ACLU’s Norma Chavez-Peterson, and the SEIU’s David Garcias were booked at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel event, along with community leaders and clergy.
The pro-Trump/Border Wall “Rally” also relocated to a couple of miles west of the prototypes near the Otay Pacific Business Park. Organized by San Diegans for Secure Borders and other nativist groups, the program included GOP gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen, right-wing conspiracist Trevor Loudon, and former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
Mid-day on Monday, immigrant activists, church leaders and elected officials held a press conference at Chicano Park to denounce the border wall.
Participants chanted as they waited for speakers to start: “We reject your hate! We don’t need your racist wall!”
Councilwoman Georgette Gomez told the assembled crowd, “It’s really important that as a region, as a city that has firsthand understanding of what the border wall means for our communities that we stand against (this) and we send a strong message to DC to say this is something that we don’t welcome.”
From the Union-Tribune:
Among those at the news conference was U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), whose 51st Congressional District runs along the U.S.-Mexico border from the ocean to Arizona. He talked of perils to undocumented people who try to illegally slip across the border to enter the U.S.
“He wants to spend $25, $30 billion on a wall that will lead to absolutely nothing but more deaths,” Vargas said.
Vargas also had a message: Trump “is not welcome here.”
Later in the afternoon, Union del Barrio held a more spirited rally, starting near the federal building in downtown.
The group, Union Barrio, focused on the president’s border wall plan, immigration legislation and alleged disrespect towards Hispanic communities, saying that his actions will tear families apart.
“This is the only country I’ve known. I’ve made my life here, I’m going to college here,” one protester said. “We’re being looked down upon as racists and thieves.”
The group then marched through downtown, waving signs and chanting.
From Fox5 News:
“We will continue defending our community next week when this fascist president visits indigenous Kumeyay land to decide what prototype of use along this imposed border that divides families and further alienates Mexicans on both sides of the border,” the group said.
Maria Fernanda Madrigal, who has lived in San Diego for 18 years, attended the rally. She is a San Diego State graduate and DACA recipient who is making sure her voice is heard.
“We want to make sure he knows that the City of San Diego does not want that wall, not only because of the physical wall but also because of what that would mean for the undocumented community here in our city,” Madrigal said. “It’s going to affect our communities by increasing the presence of border patrol and ICE in our community.” Madrigal has a 5-year-old son. She says that thought terrifies her if she were to lose her protection under DACA.
Local Indivisible groups held a rally outside the offices of the Internal Revenue Service in downtown San Diego. Citizen actors, one wearing a Trump mask and red cap, read aloud from the actual transcript of Trump’s 2017 phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, during which Trump pleaded for Mexico to pay for the wall, to stop saying Mexico won’t pay and to pretend that the nations were in negotiations.
On Tuesday morning, a few dozen activists gathered in San Ysidro.
Activist Wendy Batterson reported that a few Trump supporters showed up near the border wall prototypes.
The Prez came to visit his toys-in-progress…
Says the existing wall drove down unauthorized migration by 95%. Not True.
Says Californians are begging for walls. Except for San Diego and the 30 other cities along the border who don’t.
Says if we don’t have a wall, we don’t have a country. I think he left out the word “white.”
Also, the White House staff was telling reporters today “The wall will save far more money than it will cost.” I guess that means Mexico is off the hook.
Says main challenge is preventing people from getting over the top. “These are professional mountain climbers. They’re incredible climbers. They can’t climb some of these walls.”
Meanwhile, in San Ysidro outside Our Lady of Mt. Carmel the protesters were rockin’ it.
In Case You Missed It….
Tillerson: Russia obviously poisoned the guy.
Trump: You’re fired.
Press: You fired him for saying that?
Trump: No, I fired him on Friday.
Tillerson aide: He wasn’t fired on Friday, it came as a complete surprise.
Trump: You’re fired too.
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) March 13, 2018
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