Trump made the visit to Los Angeles after touring a section of recently rebuilt border fencing in Calexico.
The president's rare visit to California is part of a renewed push to make border security a central campaign issue for his 2020 re-election.
"There is indeed an emergency on our southern border," Trump said at the briefing, adding that there has been a sharp uptick in illegal crossings. "It's a colossal surge and it's overwhelming our immigration system, and we can't let that happen. ... We can't take you anymore. We can't take you. Our country is full."
After meeting with law enforcement officials at the border, the president headed to Los Angeles International Airport for a planned six-hour visit to the area.
The presidential motorcade made its way to the Beverly Hills home of health care executive Lee Samson. Tickets were $15,000 for dinner, $50,000 for the opportunity to take a picture with Trump and $150,000 to participate in a roundtable discussion during the event.
Trump visited his golf club in Rancho Palos Verdes in the evening. Trump's stop at his golf course -- his first since becoming president -- was not publicly listed, but there was a strong police presence in the area.
"It was really amazing to see, actually," said San Pedro resident Jesse Fourmy.
The president was at the location to have dinner with friends and supporters. A crowd along the cliffs hoped to catch a glimpse of the event, including a group of at least 40 supporters.
"I love America, love the president. I wanted to come out, support him and say welcome to Southern California," said Steve Hertzmann of Rancho Palos Verdes.
A handful of protesters also showed up. At least one called for more scrutiny of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings in the Russia investigation.
"We want the full Mueller report to be released to the public so we can read it, and we can make our decisions about where we can go next," said Rancho Palos Verdes resident Mark Richardson, who had an American flag draped over his shoulders and wore a hat with the word "RESISTANCE" on it.
Will soon be landing in Calexico, California to look at a portion of the new WALL being built on our Southern Border. Within two years we will have close to 400 miles built or under construction & keeping our Country SAFE – not easy when the Dems are always fighting to stop you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 5, 2019
The following road closures were in effect and snarled traffic during the afternoon commute during Trump's visit:
-- from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., the area around Bundy Drive between Airport Avenue and West Pico Boulevard, in the vicinity of Santa Monica Airport; and
-- from 3 to 4 p.m. and again from 6 to 7 p.m., the area around Sunset Boulevard between Sepulveda Boulevard and Hillcrest Drive.
Sunset Boulevard was closed between Foothill and Hillcrest roads from 1 to 7 p.m. During that same time, Foothill, Elm and Maple drives were closed between Sunset and Elevado Avenue.
The president left for Las Vegas. On Saturday, he's expected to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition National Leadership Meeting before returning to Washington D.C.
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