President Trump boasted Wednesday about progress on his border wall during a visit to a section outside San Diego, saying he thinks he can get to 500 miles by next year, depending on “terrain conditions.”

He also suggested he is living up to his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall by pointing to their stepped-up efforts to combat the flow of immigration from Central America.

“They’re paying for 27,000 soldiers, as you know,” he told reporters.

He said he could probably pay for the wall through tariffs on Mexico, though he didn’t want to impose one just yet.

Democrats have complained that Mr. Trump repeatedly promised to make Mexico pay for his trademark wall, only to raid critical military projects for funding.

The wall is 30 feet tall in some areas and 18 feet in others, Mr. Trump said, and is reinforced with steel rebar and concrete.

“If you think you’re gonna cut it with a blowtorch, that doesn’t work because you hit concrete,” he said.

Mr. Trump, who is visiting as part of a fundraising swing through California, noted that Tijuana, Mexico, is nearby.

“There are thousands of people over there that were trying to get in,” he told reporters.

Mr. Trump, who declared an emergency to reshuffle funds for his wall, said he still thinks there is a crisis at the southern border.

“I think really the success is going to be when the wall’s built, when human traffickers can’t come through,” he said.

He dubbed the emerging wall a “world class” security system that’s designed to absorb heat, making it tougher to climb.

“You can fry an egg on that wall,” he said.

Mr. Trump also met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

“This is the wall the agents asked for,” one agent told Mr. Trump.

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