Despite President Trump's repeated claims while on the campaign trail and into the early days of his administration that Mexico would pay for the wall, the sovereign state to the south has denied it will do so.
The construction site is about two miles (3km) east of San Diego's Otay Mesa border crossing at the end of steel-mesh fencing that runs from the Pacific Ocean.
"Moving forward with the prototypes enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border", continued Vitiello.
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Which is not to say the president hasn't called them "walls", anyway, as he did during a rally in Phoenix last month.
Today at about 10:00 a.m., a construction employee fell down a 40-foot hole at the border wall prototype construction site near the U.S./Mexico global border in Otay Mesa.
The sample walls will be built to scale, and function as usable barriers along the border.
Each prototype will be 18-30 feet high. Juan Gomez, a young father from Chiapas, Mexico, was arrested by Border Patrol agents.
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Various contractors are working on the prototypes and it is still uncertain who will build the final barrier, into which cameras and sensors will be placed.
"If you're in favor of the wall, you're entitled to speak in favor of it but peacefully, and that's what we're asking for".
San Diego police and the county sheriff's department have helped set up a "free speech zone" nearby for people to demonstrate. And while Trump has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for the wall, the southern country has -repeatedly, too-said it won't pay for it.
The prototypes, which are being constructed on an isolated swath of land in San Diego, will cost about $500,000 each. Building the wall would cost more than $20 billionPresident Trump during Friday rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
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The House has approved the money, but the Senate has yet to take up the bill, and Democrats have announced they will try to derail any legislation that includes border wall money.