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Smattering of peaceful protests greet Trump at border

SAN DIEGO (AP) – President Donald Trump’s motorcade Tuesday zipped past demonstrators who both jeered and cheered him and his plans for a “big beautiful border wall” after he inspected prototypes.

The president’s first visit to the California border amid a contentious battle with state officials over his immigration policies was peaceful. Hundreds of people participated in scattered rallies on both sides of the border dividing San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico.

Law enforcement was out in force, and the area where Trump visited the eight prototypes was heavily cordoned off.

A supporter of President Donald Trump walks by during a rally for the President’s visit Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Trump on Tuesday eagerly inspected prototypes on display in California for his “big beautiful border wall” amid peaceful protests but growing tensions between his administration and the state over immigration enforcement. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Rows of police kept apart supporters and opponents of the Trump administration along the avenue where his motorcade drove down. Each side booed, cheered and waved both Mexican and American flags as the president’s convoy sped past them. Among the crowd, a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap debated policies with a woman holding a “No human is illegal” sign.

About 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of the prototypes, protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” at the nation’s busiest border crossing, San Ysidro. Tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. Drivers honked as a show of support.

Jose Gonzalez, 21, stopped to snap a photo of the protesters holding signs, including one that read: “Wall off Putin!”

“I don’t think it’s really fair how he has the choice to separate us,” said Gonzalez, a dual citizen who lives in Tijuana and crosses daily to work at a San Diego ramen restaurant.

Army veteran Mark Prieto, 48, shook his head as he walked by the protest.

“People are so narrow-minded,” said the firefighter, who voted for Trump. “Finally we have someone who is putting America first.”

Trump examined eight 30-foot-tall (9-meter-tall) prototypes built last year along the border in a bid to fulfill his signature campaign promise.

U.S. authorities moved semi-trailers between the prototypes and the Mexican border, offering a layer of protection. A man, woman and two children were seen climbing the border fence at the site Monday and were immediately detained.

The president spoke with immigration enforcement officials and with Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar before heading to a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.

San Diego’s mayor criticized Trump’s short visit, saying the president won’t get a full picture of the city. Kevin Faulconer said that if Trump had stayed more than a few hours, he would see that a strong economy and free trade aren’t a contradiction but a way of life.

The mayor, a business-friendly Republican and ardent supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement, said a popular cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana shows that “building bridges has worked wonders.” The terminal is a few miles from the border-wall prototypes.

Trump had campaigned against NAFTA as a job killer that he said encouraged American companies to move factories to Mexico to exploit cheap labor. Renegotiations over the deal began last summer.

Faulconer, writing in The San Diego Union-Tribune, also said San Diego police work to protect everyone regardless of immigration status, an apparent dig at Trump’s push to target illegal immigration.

The issue has led to heightened tensions between California and the Trump administration. The Justice Department recently sued over state laws that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, which state officials have harshly criticized.

San Diego’s City Council last year passed a resolution opposing Trump’s proposed wall.

Lauren Rees holds up a sign during a rally against a upcoming scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego.  Protesters chanted, "No ban! No wall!" near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego.  (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Lauren Rees holds up a sign during a rally against a upcoming scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Roberto Perez Garcia of Mexico participates in a rally against the border wall on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Roberto Perez Garcia of Mexico participates in a rally against the border wall on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A protester holds up a sign during a rally against a scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Protesters chanted, "No ban! No wall!" near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

A protester holds up a sign during a rally against a scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Supporters of President Trump gather for a rally Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Supporters of President Trump gather for a rally Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2018, file photo, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, center, discusses California's growing homeless crisis during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. The Republican mayor criticized Trump's short visit to his town, saying the president won't get a full picture of the city. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 21, 2018, file photo, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, center, discusses California’s growing homeless crisis during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. The Republican mayor criticized Trump’s short visit to his town, saying the president won’t get a full picture of the city. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Officers separate a supporter of President Donald Trump and a protester Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Trump's visit was greeted with peaceful protests by demonstrators both for and against his planned wall.  (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Officers separate a supporter of President Donald Trump and a protester Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Trump’s visit was greeted with peaceful protests by demonstrators both for and against his planned wall. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. Border Patrol offices on horseback watch President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. Border Patrol offices on horseback watch President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A protester chants in front of San Yisdro Land Port of Entry to Mexico during a rally against a scheduled upcoming visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

A protester chants in front of San Yisdro Land Port of Entry to Mexico during a rally against a scheduled upcoming visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Members of a migrants rights group carry a pinata with the face of President Trump on it during an anti-border wall rally on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Members of a migrants rights group carry a pinata with the face of President Trump on it during an anti-border wall rally on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Police bring a bomb sniffing dog to inspect a piñata that protesters brought to an anti-Trump rally on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Police bring a bomb sniffing dog to inspect a piñata that protesters brought to an anti-Trump rally on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes in the United States, which can be seen from where the protesters are gathering on the Mexico side. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A protester holds up a sign during a rally against a scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Protesters chanted, "No ban! No wall!" near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

A protester holds up a sign during a rally against a scheduled visit by President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego. Protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” near the San Ysidro border crossing, where tens of thousands of people enter the U.S. daily from Tijuana, Mexico, many on their way to work or school in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Mexican federal police officers stand guard on the Mexico side of the border on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes which can be seen in the background behind the wall. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Mexican federal police officers stand guard on the Mexico side of the border on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is scheduled to visit the site of the border wall prototypes which can be seen in the background behind the wall. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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