Category: Breaking News

Trump border ‘wall’ could cost $21.6 billion, take 3.5 years to build

(NBC NEWS) — President Donald Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The report’s estimated price-tag is much higher than a $12-billion figure cited by Trump in his campaign and estimates as high as $15 billion from Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The report is expected to be presented to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in coming days, although the administration will not necessarily take actions it recommends.

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Homeland Security head tours border as wall plan takes shape

(ABC NEWS) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will wrap up a two-day tour of the nation’s border with Mexico on Friday as plans take shape to build a wall along the 2,000-mile divide between the two countries.

Kelly has told lawmakers that he would like to see wall construction well underway within two years, but he held open the possibility that it wouldn’t extend to areas where there are natural physical barriers.

Fences already cover about 700 miles of the border.

Kelly was scheduled to tour one of the most fortified stretches of the border separating San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. The two cities in the border’s largest metropolitan area are separated by a double fence, much of it topped with razor wire.

San Diego is often cited as an example of how walls can slow illegal crossings, but critics say the structures only forced people to more dangerous areas where many have died in extreme heat.

The San Diego-Tijuana area of about 5 million people has the nation’s busiest border crossing, where tens of thousands of motorists and pedestrians enter the U.S. every day. It’s also one of the busiest crossings for cargo.

On Thursday, Kelly toured southern Arizona — the busiest corridor for illegal crossings from 1998 to 2013.

Southern Texas is now the most preferred route as large numbers of Central American families and children make their way to the U.S.

San Diego was the busiest route for illegal crossings until the late 1990s, when a surge of agents helped push crossers toward the remote mountains and deserts in Arizona.

Kelly was visiting the border in Arizona and California for the first time since he became secretary last month. Last week he toured the border in southern Texas.

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, rose to run the U.S. Southern Command, responsible for U.S. military activities in 31 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kelly told a House panel on Tuesday that Trump’s immigration and travel ban made “an awful lot of sense” but probably should have been delayed at least long enough to brief Congress about it.

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Iraqi and Egyptian nationals caught after sneaking across open border

(BREITBART) — by Brandon Darby & Ildefonso Ortiz

One Iraqi national and one Egyptian national were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the individuals from terror-hotbeds had illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed the concerning apprehensions to Breitbart Texas in a statement. CBP declined to confirm that the foreign nationals were men, though a source operating under the umbrella of their agency claimed they were both males to Breitbart Texas.

“USBP agents [U.S. Border Patrol agents] from Lordsburg Station apprehended two individuals, one Iraqi national and the other from Egypt, while on patrol Saturday at 2:15 p.m. local time along Arizona State Route 80. Records checks and interviews produced no derogatory information and the two individuals were placed into removal proceedings,” wrote a spokesperson for the agency.

Breitbart Texas asked CBP again to specify the gender, as fighting-age males from terror-hotbeds penetrating the U.S. border would clearly be more of a concern than elderly females, but the agency would not enlighten the public to these important details.

The exact location of the apprehensions is unclear, as the Border Patrol agents were from the Lordsburg, New Mexico, station, according to CBP. Arizona State Route 80 runs in both New Mexico and Arizona, due to the location of the highway in New Mexico, the CBP statement would indicate that the foreign nationals had made it more than 15 miles into U.S. territory before being apprehended. Had the apprehensions been in Arizona, Lordsburg agents would likely have not been present. The stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border south of the apprehension area is open and without sufficient barriers of any sort.

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Failed kidnapping kills three in Mexican border city

(BREITBART) — PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila — Authorities in this border city continue to probe a failed kidnapping that turned into a triple murder outside of a local junkyard. While local media have claimed that the murder was a gang hit, the victim’s relatives revealed that the case was something else.

Preliminary information points to the victims decorating a local business for a party in the Laguito Mexicano neighborhood when the shooting happened. The victims have been identified as 28-year-old Jorge “Copetes” Rosales and his employees Aaron “N” and El Pepo. The murder scene is approximately six miles from this city’s downtown area.

According to the victim’s relatives, two vehicles with gunmen followed Rosales to his business where they tried to kidnap him in an apparent effort to collect a ransom. The victim tried to fight back while two of his employees rushed to his aid. The gunmen shot them and fled the area. Days after the murder, local residents reported that a second kidnapping attempt had taken place but the victims had managed to escape unharmed.

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Govt. audit: “Elevated” terrorism threat to U.S. from Mexico

(JUDICIAL WATCH) — A new government audit confirms what Judicial Watch has been reporting for years, that Islamic terrorists are operating in Mexican border towns and infiltrating the United States to carry out attacks. In a report issued this month by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency notes that the state faces a full spectrum of threats and “due to the recent actions of lone offenders or small groups affiliated with or inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other foreign terrorist organizations, we assess that the current terrorism threat to Texas is elevated.”

Safety officials in the Lone Star State also write in the 86-page document that they are “especially concerned about the potential for terrorist infiltration across the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly as foreign terrorist fighters depart Syria and Iraq and enter global migration flows.” They also express worries about Syrian refugees that have been sent to Texas under President Obama’s settlement program because the government doesn’t have a system to properly vet them. Judicial Watch has also reported extensively on that national security crisis. Read the latest stories here and here. “We see a potential that these challenges may leave the state exposed to extremist actors who pose as authentic refugees, and who are determined to later commit violent acts,” the Texas report states.

In the same manner that ISIS deployed operatives to their targets in European capitals, the terrorist group could implement the same tactics to infiltrate operatives across the Texas-Mexico border, the new report points out. “Human smugglers, working along established Latin American routes, have long transported Syrians, Iraqis and other immigration from countries where terrorist groups operate to our land border with Mexico,” Texas safety officials write in the report. The U.S. government calls them Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and in past few years they have come from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt and many other “countries of interest” in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia where terrorist groups are active.

The southern border has become a hotbed of Islamic terrorism in recent years and Judicial Watch has exposed the national security disaster as part of an ongoing investigation into the dangerously porous region. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that Mexican drug cartels are smuggling SIAs from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas rural town near El Paso. Sources on both sides of the border confirmed to Judicial Watch that the smugglers use remote farm roads—rather than interstates—to elude the Border Patrol and other law enforcement barriers. Once they clear the border, the SIAs are transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20. Then the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area’s sand hills just across Highway 20.

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Texas sanctuary sheriff faces removal from office for aiding criminal illegals

(INFO WARS) — By Kit Daniels

Travis Co. Sheriff Sally Hernandez is facing removal from office after defying Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call to end sanctuary city policies which aid criminal aliens.

Hernandez, whose jurisdiction includes Austin, the capital of Texas, has rejected Abbott’s request to reverse her refusal to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement except in limited circumstances, which Abbott says is hypocritical.

“First, you claim you have no legal power to comply with ICE detainers. That proves too much, of course, because by your own admission, Travis County Sheriff’s Office will honor some ICE detainers, for example when the alien is charged with or convicted of capital murder,” Abbott wrote. “You have the exact same legal authority to honor ICE detainers for capital murder cases as you do for other crimes that you personally deem unworthy of enforcement.”

In addition, Abbott pointed out that ICE also issues detainers for illegal aliens with felony records – including murder.

“…Under your reckless policy, for example, dangerous criminal aliens convicted of felonies like murder, aggravated assault, human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, aggravated kidnapping, including sexual performance by a child or indecency with a child, dangerous gang activities…,” he added.

But in response, Hernandez declared that honoring the detainers would make the “community less safe by driving people into the shadows.”

“As local law enforcement officers, we will not interrogate or arrest someone over an unrelated federal immigration matter if they are trying to report a crime,” she said.

Hernandez is contending that state law enforcement cannot constitutionally be drafted into service by federal agencies, which is true – but it appears to be a straw man argument.

Judging by the letter, Abbott seems more interested in allowing ICE to remove illegals from the streets who were already arrested by Texas officials for committing – not simply reporting – serious crimes.

“For one, these sheriff offices receive grants from the governor’s office and we’re cutting off those grants to any sanctuary city in the State of Texas,” he said on Fox & Friends. “But, however, we are in a legislative session and we’re working on laws that will #1 ban sanctuary cities and #2 remove from office any office holder who promotes sanctuary cities while also imposing criminal penalties as well as financial penalties.”

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Mexico to Israel: Dismayed, disappointed with Netanyahu’s support of Trump’s wall

(HAARETZ) — Mexico’s Foreign Ministry expressed on Saturday night its “dismay and disappointment” over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tweet on the wall that U.S. President Donald Trump is interested in building on the border with Mexico.

“The Mexican Foreign Ministry told the Israeli government, through its ambassador to Mexico, its deepest dismay, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Twitter message regarding the construction of a border wall. Mexico is a friend of Israel, and must be treated as such by its prime minister,” it said in an official announcement.

President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea 🇮🇱🇺🇸
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 28, 2017

Netanyahu voiced what seemed to be support Saturday for Trump’s plan to build a border wall along America’s border with Mexico and praised Trump for referencing Israel in defending his wall.

“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu tweeted.

The Mexican statement added that Foreign minister Luis Videgaray Caso visited the Israeli embassy only a day earlier, on Friday, to express solidarity and friendship to Israel on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Mexico and Israel share the historic rejection of racism and xenophobia, and Mexico will continue to work closely with Israel to combat any form of discrimination in the world,” it said.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Israel’s Foreign Ministry published a clarification hours after Netanyahu’s original tweet, prompted by Mexico’s outrage on the matter, according to a senior official in Jerusalem.

“The prime minister was addressing Israel’s unique circumstances and the important experience we have and which we are willing to share with other nations. There was no attempt to voice an opinion regarding U.S.-Mexico ties,” according to the clarification.

The heads of the Jewish community in Mexico also issued a statement condemning Netanyahu’s words.

“The Jewish community of Mexico disapproves of the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a wall on the border. We don’t agree with his approach and strongly oppose his position.

“As Mexicans and Jews, we support the steps taken by our government, headed by President Enrique Pena Nieto, in negotiations with the U.S. We identify with our citizens who live, work and contribute to the U.S., who must receive fair treatment and protection of human rights at any time,” it said.

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Senate Democrats may block Trump’s plan to fund border wall

(CNN) — Senior Democrats privately say that a funding bill to build the border wall will likely be blocked in the Senate — especially if the plan would add to the deficit or impose a new tax on Mexican imports.

The threat, voiced by multiple sources, marks the clearest indication yet that President Donald Trump might not get Congress to foot the bill for the wall, imperiling his central goal that he made a centerpiece for his campaign.

Trump and GOP leaders have discussed advancing a new funding package that could cost upwards of $15 billion to pay for the wall — as the new president has promised that Mexico will ultimately reimburse the United States for the project.

But many in both parties are skeptical that Mexico will pay for the wall as the country has insisted that it would not foot the bill. And it’s unclear how Trump’s funding package will be paid for or if it would be offset by new spending cuts.

With 52 Republicans, the party would need eight Democratic senators to break a likely filibuster. Democratic sources are already confident that most, if not, all of their members will join forces to try to block the plan. Even some fiscal conservative Republicans may balk at the price tag.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that the administration was considering a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, but later said it was just one option under consideration.

Democrats are pushing back.

“Instead of having Mexico pay for the Wall, President Trump, Speaker Ryan and Washington Republicans would have the American middle-class pay for the wall,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a Friday statement.

“The costs for everything from groceries, to cars, to office supplies would go up by 20%, making it harder for middle-class families to pay for things they need every day.”

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What Trump’s wall says to the world

(REAL CLEAR POLITICS) — By Patrick Buchanan

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” wrote poet Robert Frost in the opening line of “Mending Walls.”

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the “beautiful wall” President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The opposition’s arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

Yet something deeper is afoot here. The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.

Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.

It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Two decades ago, the Old Right and the neocons engaged in a ferocious debate over what America was and is.

Were we from the beginning a new, unique, separate and identifiable people like the British, French and Germans?

Or was America a new kind of nation, an ideological nation, an invented nation, united by an acceptance of the ideas and ideals of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln and Dr. King?

The Old Right contended that America existed even before the Revolution, and that this new nation, this new people, wrote its own birth certificate, the Constitution. Before Washington, Madison and Hamilton ever went to Philadelphia, America existed.

What forced the premature birth of the nation — was the Revolution.

We did not become a new nation because we embraced Jefferson’s notion about all men being “created equal.” We became a new people from our familial break with the Mother Country, described in the declaration as a severing of ties with our “brethren” across the sea who no longer deserved our loyalty or love.

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White House press secretary says border wall will be funded by 20 percent import tax on Mexican goods

(BREAKING 911) — Trump spokesman Sean Spicer added a stunning new detail about the proposed wall project later Thursday, saying that Trump intended to pay for it by imposing a 20-percent tax on all imports from Mexico.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had been scheduled to meet with Trump on Tuesday to discuss immigration, trade and drug-war cooperation. He called off the visit after Trump tweeted that it would be “better to cancel the upcoming meeting” if Mexico was unwilling to pay for the wall.

Trump’s moves have rekindled old resentments in Mexico, a country that during its history has often felt bullied and threatened by its wealthier, more powerful neighbor. The legacy of heavy-handed U.S. behavior – which includes invasions and the seizure of significant Mexican lands — has mostly been played down by a generation of Mexican leaders who have pursued pragmatic policies and mutual economic interests with both Republican and Democratic U.S. administrations.

Both Peña Nieto and Spicer said that their countries were interested in maintaining positive relations. “We will keep the lines of communication open,” Spicer told reporters in Washington on Thursday morning, adding that the White House would “look for a date to schedule something in the future.” The Mexican president tweeted that his government was willing to work with the United States “to reach agreements that benefit both nations.”

But Mexicans expressed shock and dismay as Trump moved to turn his campaign promises into reality.

Mexicans view a wall across the 2,000-mile border as a symbolic affront, part of a package of Trump policies that could cause the country serious economic pain. They include a crackdown on illegal immigrants, who send billions of dollars home, and renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The treaty has allowed trade between the neighbors to mushroom. Every day, $1.4 billion in goods ccross the U.S.-Mexico border, and millions of jobs are linked to trade on both sides. Mexico is the second largest customer for American-made products in the world, and 80 percent of Mexican exports – automobiles, flat screen TVs, avocados – are sold to the United States.

“When we are talking about building a wall, about deporting migrants, about eliminating sanctuary cities [for migrants], about threatening to end a free trade agreement, or to take away factories, we are really talking about causing human suffering,” Margarita Zavala, a possible candidate for the presidency in 2018 and the wife of former president Felipe Calderon, said in an interview. “And after today, without a doubt, it is very difficult to negotiate from behind a wall.”

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