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Trump’s wall met with skepticism, unease on U.S.-Mexico border

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    People pass graffiti along the border structure in Tijuana, Mexico on Wednesday. President Donald Trump signed executive actions Wednesday to jumpstart construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.”

SAN DIEGO >> As President Donald Trump announced his plans for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, Border Patrol agents in San Diego on the lookout for drugs and smugglers drove all-terrain vehicles along a barrier that reaches 18 feet, topped by razor wire and reinforced by cameras and lighting.

Mexicans shopped at an outlet mall that bumps up against the border. And dozens of migrants huddled in tents outside a shelter in Mexico hoping to get into the U.S. someday.

To them, Trump’s executive order Wednesday to build a wall seemed more like a symbolic and worrisome gesture of a new chapter in U.S-Mexico relations than a real deterrent for people to enter the country illegally.

“Even if they build the wall, I will climb the wall. I bring a ladder the size of the wall, even from sticks or whatever, but I’ll make it, and I’ll jump over there,” said José de Jesús Ramírez, a recently deported Mexican migrant whose wife and children are in the U.S.

Ramirez’s response echoed the mood along the border that was a combination of resentment, defiance — and business as usual. A crew of laborers was actually building a fence on the border as Trump made his announcement. On a cold morning in the desert, the workers installed concrete blocks on which the 22-foot steel fence will stand between the town of Sunland Park, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. The project has been underway for several months.

In Tijuana, a high school student went to a stone monument dedicated by both countries in 1848 as a sign of the friendship between the U.S. and Mexico. The monument once stood on the border but now is in Mexico, a few feet away from a giant wall of towering steel bars that lead into the Pacific Ocean.

The student, 17-year-old Brandon Dzul, said talk of another wall stirred up painful memories of his 34-year-old uncle who died in the desert six years ago after being abandoned by smugglers.

“He just had the American dream, you know, to make a better life,” he said. “I think now we aren’t going to be able to get in even with a visa.”

Nearby, about 150 people gathered in tents outside a 40-bed migrant shelter that has been overwhelmed since May, when large numbers of Haitians began stopping in the Mexican border city on their way to the United States. Many moved to Brazil after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and went north after jobs dried up in the South American country.

Haitians generally turn themselves in to U.S. inspectors at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, the nation’s busiest crossing, making no attempt to jump the fence or evade authorities. They were released on humanitarian parole until September, when the U.S. ended special treatment for Haitians and began deporting them just as they do people from other countries.

U.S. authorities lack resources to process Haitians quickly enough, leading Mexican authorities to create a ticketing system that leaves them waiting in Tijuana for weeks. Migrant shelters are full, forcing many to sleep on the streets.

Fences and other barriers already blanket about 700 miles of border, much of it in California and Arizona. In San Diego, they helped to virtually shut down what was the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in the 1990s. It’s now one of the most fortified stretches of landscape on the 2,000-mile divide between the two countries.

Border Patrol sector chiefs were asked in November to identify areas where the fence could be expanded, though Trump and his advisers have yet to detail their next steps. Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council and a member of Trump’s transition team, supports building a wall in strategic locations and reinforcing existing barriers in certain areas but not where there are natural obstacles, like the Rio Grande river in Texas.

“We do not need a Great Wall of China from California to Texas,” Judd said in an interview last week.

Away from the border, Trump drew support from his base. Tammy Allen, a 52-year-old supporter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, applauded Trump’s interest in curbing the number of refugees coming to the U.S. and building a wall.

“A lot of countries do. Why not us? Something has got to be done,” she said.

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Associated Press writer Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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  • There is a legal way for Mexicans to enter the US and eventually gain citizenship.
    My wife did it, other Mexicans can too.
    She did it for herself and her two sons who are now very successful grown men.
    All this anti-wall fuss is nonsense. It’s needed to keep the smugglers and bad guys out.
    Enter the right way – Get a visa, work hard, stay out of trouble, and become a US citizen.

    • Right on latenightrouch. These are selfish Mexicans in the article, thinking they are entitled to just waltz across the border and make a life in this country illegally taking away resources from the citizens of the US, not to mention breaking immigration laws. How did we let this mess go on for decades. I know, I live in Austin, Texas.

      • It happened because there is a huge market for inexpensive undocumented labor from Mexico and other places hon. If there were no demand for these people they would not come.

        • as we see with the elections. Americans had had enough of these illegal immigration which was and is today a Big issue TheDonald’s addressing as we write.

        • and on another FoxNews update, TheDonald tweeted for Enrique not to come to the meeting. LOL, Finally we in the US have a POTUS telling like it is to Mexico and where we the General Public gets to hear/read his words. Unlike past Presidents who think and talk behind closed doors not wanting to hurt people’s feelings or are scared of losing their elected seats in future elections.

          We have at the very least 4 years of venting our frustration of the ALL TALK politicians of both parties and NOT doing! GOD Bless America! Land that I Love!

    • It’s not more a Mexican citizen problem of the flood of refugees. The problem is more the people that come to Mexico from other countries in Central and South America. The poorer those countries get, the more people will migrate north. They need to fix the economies and reduce crime and wars in those areas if they want to stop the illegal immigrants from wanting to risk their lives trying to get into the USA.

      • Mexico can,for show whine and tantrum all they want. The facts are these:
        1)Mexico cannot afford to loose us as an importer for its economy
        2)they dump their people in the U.S. to reduce their own problems and spending
        3)they encourage illegals from Central and S. America so they can get kickbacks and payoffs, as they cross Mexico to go to the U.S
        4) the second largest part of the Mexican Economy are dollars flowing back to Mexico from Illegal workers,hence to interest in continuing the “flow”

        I hope Trump really lays into them. The Mexican Gov’t is part of the problem they could stop and or help diminish illegals to U.S. on their side, but instead tell us to !#$^ off.

        P.S. for all you Dem tin hats if you try to cross into Mexico illegally from the U.S. its a felony or you’ll be shot!

    • Don’t put words or insinuate TheDonald will nickname the border wall, Trump’s Wall! It’s the Media’s making.

      And on another note I never heard these Democrats/Libertards being disgusted having ACA known as ObamaCare. Stop blaming TheDonald for all the problems as he’s trying to clean up the mess his predecessors left behind.

  • Please keep in mind that this is an AP news feed, headline should have indicated simply an update to the wall, seems to be a rehash of what has been written in the recent past. Seems apparent that some will continue to cross illegally. In my opinion, if intent is to immigrate go thru the process and do it legally. The benefit will be able monitor and protect both immigrants and US citizens. 🙂

  • What Mr. Trump doesn’t mention of course (and none of his supporters seem to understand) is that almost all of the property that the wall will go through is privately owned – at least until Mr. Trump seizes it. Farmers and ranchers have complained loudly that a wall would separate their animals from water sources, and that the construction would hurt their businesses terribly. That’s why none of the Texas House delegation – not one of them – has come out in support of Trump’s Wall of Ignorance.

    The ACLU and other groups will be helping private land owners make a big a mess as possible out of the land seizure actions that are required to build the wall.

    Every person who voted for that psychotic should be ashamed of what they did.

    • More BS, almost all the ranchers and farmers there want security and begged for Odumbo to intervene. They have both illegals and Drug cartels threatening them.
      P.S. Aclu never stood for anyone’s rights. they have a socialist anti-conservative agenda. Like the Dem tin hats its not “your American right” its what rights the socialists deem right.

  • Last week the media and the liberals were criticizing Trump saying he was waffling on building the wall and not living up to his campaign promises… this weed they are trashing him for “building the wall” and full filling his campaign promises. Can’t win for loosing with some people.

  • i have a fenced yard and lock my doors to the house. i protect my home and family from trespassers, thieves and burglars.

    a nation has the right to protect its borders from illegal entry and protect its citizens from foreign criminals.

    • st1d, I hear you and it brought be back to my childhood days when I could walk down the street with no care in the world, leave our houses unlocked, keys in the car and not have to worry about anything happening to children.
      Those days are long gone, which is truly unfortunate. Part of the reason we have come to this point is the lack of the wall.

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