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Ryan Visits US-Mexico Border as Wall Looms

FILE - House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 16, 2017.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan visited the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time Wednesday as the Trump administration steps up immigration enforcement and prepares to ask Congress to pay for a wall.

Ryan was accompanied by a small group of fellow Republicans on the trip, including Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee in the House.

They were met by protesters in McAllen, Texas.

Ryan said he would work with the administration to secure the border, but did not mention specifics after seeing for himself some of the challenges of building a wall along the 2,000-mile border.

"When you see with your own eyes the many challenges facing our law enforcement professionals along the border, it gives you even greater respect for the work that they do day-in and day-out. But more tools and more support are needed for them to do their jobs effectively,'' Ryan said in a statement after the visit.

Ryan toured the area on horseback with Border Patrol agents and also viewed the Rio Grande, the river that forms part of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the surrounding areas by air and by boat.

President Donald Trump has not yet asked Congress to pay for the wall, one of his signature campaign promises. It's expected to cost $15 billion or more.

Trump has promised that Mexico will pay for the wall, but Mexico has repeatedly refused.