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    U.S. Warns Border Wall Construction Could Spark Large-Scale Protests

    Customs and Border Protection issues memo over planned construction of border wall prototypes near San Diego

    By Alicia A. Caldwell
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:50 p.m. ET

    LOS ANGELES—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is worried that planned construction of short stretches of border wall prototypes near San Diego could spark large-scale protests and violence, according to an intelligence alert described to The Wall Street Journal by two law-enforcement officials.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection warned state and local law enforcement that protests “may arise with little or no warning” and could pose a “threat to U.S. personnel and infrastructure” along the border, according to the three-page memo dated Sept. 6.

    The agency advised that protesters may try to block construction and U.S. Border Patrol vehicles along undeveloped stretches of land near the edge of a secondary fence near San Diego.

    Construction on wall prototypes is expected to begin Sept. 26, according to the alert. It was unclassified but marked as law-enforcement sensitive, one of the officials said.

    The alert didn’t detail government plans to deal with any such protests.

    Neither official provided additional details about any response plans.

    The alert was sent to several federal and local law-enforcement agencies, according to one of the officials.

    Customs and Border Protection declined to comment. Representatives for the Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to requests for comment.

    The Trump administration said at the end of August that four companies had been selected to build short sections of concrete border walls. Designs for four other wall samples built from “other materials” were selected earlier this month.

    President Donald Trump promised to build a wall along the Mexican border the day he announced his run for president in June 2015. The pledge became a rallying cry at campaign events, along with his proclamation that Mexico would pay for the structure.

    The Mexican government has repeatedly rejected suggestions it would foot the bill. Mr. Trump has asked Congress for more than $1 billion as a down payment for the barrier but so far, his budget requests haven’t been approved.

    The Homeland Security Department is using money already in its coffers to pay for the prototypes.

    The concrete sections of wall prototypes have an average cost of about $450,000 and will be 30 feet long and up to 30 feet high, according to Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commission of Customs and Border Protection.

    The agency said earlier this month that the other designs would be between 18 and 30 feet high. It didn’t provide a cost estimate for the other wall samples.

    There is already about 650 miles of fencing along the Mexican border, much of it built as part of the 2006 Secure Fence Act during President George W. Bush’s second term.

    The intelligence alert said protesters have previously tried to block border fence constructions.

    Officials warned that efforts to stop new border wall construction could mirror the size and scope of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

    The CBP alert also warned law-enforcement officials that drug cartels and other criminals could try to take advantage of any chaos created by the protests to commit crimes along the border.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-war...sts-1505263853
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