Construction began in Otay Mesa Tuesday on prototypes for a new border wall between the United States and Mexico, marking the start of a proposed project that served as a bitterly divisive centerpiece in President Donald Trump's ascension to the White House.
Each prototype will be up to nine metres high and nine metres long.
The concrete mock-ups will "allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years", according to a statement issued by the federal agency.
Eight models are to be built in a remote area of San Diego, four from solid concrete and four made of "other materials".
Villareal said the prototype phase is expected to last 30 days and that he expects protests at the site during that time."We expect that there may be protesting and we are going to do everything to make sure that we provide that opportunity and we maintain civility and lawfulness along the border", he said.
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On the campaign trail and early in his administration, Trump had said repeatedly that Mexico would pay for the wall's construction - a proposition that has also been repeatedly rejected by Mexican leaders.
'It may not result in a singular victor. "It may be a combination of designs being implemented", he said. Another 300 miles have vehicle barriers, which allow easy penetration by pedestrians or animals but are created to stop trucks and cars from barreling over the border.
"San Diego Patriots endorses the Fence/Wall and is happy to see the progress being made to secure our borders safely from foreign threats", said Amy Sutton, the leader of the San Diego Patriots. The lawsuits say that authority has expired. In fact, the prototypes can be disassembled after construction.
Democrats have baulked at Mr Trump's request for $1.6bn (£1.2bn) to replace 14 miles (22km) in San Diego and build 60 miles (96km) in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, which is the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.
Other contracts for concrete prototypes went to Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. of Tempe, Arizona, and Texas Sterling Construction Co. of Houston.