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A swathe of the border wall between Arizona and Mexico. Photo: Getty

Construction has started on the President Donald Trump border wall — well, sort of.

Contractors competing to win the project, which could cost as much as $38 billion, broke ground on Tuesday on eight prototypes that will help U.S. Customs and Border Patrol determine the best method to move forward with building the border wall.

"We are committed to securing our border and that includes constructing border walls," CBP's acting deputy commissioner, Ronald Vitiello, said in a statement Tuesday, which was released via Twitter.

"Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology and people. Moving forward with the prototype enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border."


It will take six contractors about 30 days to construct the eight prototypes, which will all be between 18 and 30 feet high. The purpose of the design will be to deter illegal crossings in the area between the United States and Mexico, a statement reads.

The prototypes, which are being constructed on an isolated swath of land in San Diego, will cost about $500,000 each. The Department of Homeland Security is covering the cost with funds reallocated internally from other programs, NPR reported.

Officials in the San Diego area are preparing for protests against the controversial project and have erected miles of fencing and enacted parking bans, the Los Angeles Times reported.

However, a designated free speech area designed for protesters has yet to see any action.

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. There is still no money to pay for the border wall and earlier this month Trump caved on his threat to shut down the federal government if Congress did not allocate funding for the wall.

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