Trump spent about an hour Tuesday viewing the eight 30-foot-high samples that were built to offer an array of options for the wall Trump has promised to erect along the U.S. -Mexico border.
Trump's solo flight suggests the political risk he brings to state Republicans given his low popularity in California.
"Sanctuary cities are protecting a awful group of people", he said, renewing his complaints Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities are providing protection for illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.
During his visit, the president reiterated the importance he granted to that work, one of his main promises during his campaign, because if the wall is not built, 'we will not have a country, ' he said. "No wall!" near the San Ysidro crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the USA daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego.
"Thank you, President Trump, for putting America first again - we welcome you to California".
The two sides were separated by a heavy presence of police officers in helmets and riot gear, but the rallies were peaceful. Jerry Brown, its immigrant protections and the state's tax system.
Brown invited Trump to visit the Central Valley and see bridges and viaducts being built for a proposed north-south high-speed rail line.
Trump tweeted about California's immigration policies as he flew to the state aboard Air Force One.
Trump's official travel schedule following his arrival was not released.
U.S. and Mexican authorities appeared to be collaborating closely on security measures before the president's visit.
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USA authorities moved semi-trailers between the prototypes and the Mexican border, offering a layer of protection. He crosses the border from Mexico daily to work at a San Diego restaurant.
President Donald Trump's motorcade Tuesday zipped past demonstrators who both jeered and cheered him and his plans for a "big lovely border wall" after he inspected prototypes. "Traitor", said one. "Moron", said another - a reference to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who reportedly used that term to describe President Trump a year ago, and who was abruptly fired earlier Tuesday morning.
Trump's Justice Department last week sued the state over three of its immigration laws.
"We have a lousy wall now", Trump said.
Tractor-trailer rigs have been parked along the US side, blocking the view from Mexico. Trump has insisted Mexico pay for the wall.
Protests were held on the Mexican side, too, in Tijuana. But, he said, "I have to do it". Others say they understand why people want to secure the border more.
"It's not good", said Mauricio Villegas, 37, glancing toward the fence and prototype walls as he passed through on his way to a job at a veterinary office.
"This is an environmental catastrophe, on top of a misallocation of government resources that could be used for health care or social services", Cody Petterson, president of the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, said of the wall. The Department of Homeland Security has said future border barrier designs will likely include a combination of ideas presented from various prototypes.
"The president campaigned on this, he talked about it extensively, and he's the president, and this is something that he is not going to back away from", she said.
Ahead of the visit, a few dozen people gathered for a pro-Trump rally on the USA side of the border near the prototypes, while a similar number of the president's detractors came to the San Ysidro border post.
"People are going to continue to pursue a better life".
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