Between San Diego and Tijuana, eight prototype border walls are ready for testing – but will any get built, and will it make a difference if they do?

It’s 9:15am and Ralph DeSio of US customs and border protection (CBP) is standing at the front of a tour bus full of journalists, pointing out notable features of the fencing that separates the United States from Mexico.

Furthest south is the 10ft tall primary fence – a low-slung structure of rusted, corrugated steel salvaged from Vietnam war-era helicopter landing pads. About 100 yards north is the secondary fence, 18ft of steel mesh added in the 1990s to create an “enforcement zone” between the two fences.

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