Tagged: border wall

Trump, Peña Nieto discuss Mexican guest-worker proposal

(FOX BUSINESS) — By Robbie Whelan

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. President Donald Trump, at their first one-on-one meeting since Mr. Trump took office, agreed Friday to explore new ways of allowing Mexican workers to temporarily enter the U.S. to help the agriculture industry.

The proposal came at the end of a half-hour meeting between the two heads of state at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where both sides also discussed the coming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Mexico’s government said it hoped to finish by the end of this year.

“We’re negotiating Nafta and some other things with Mexico and we’ll see how it all turns out, but I think that we’ve made very good progress,” Mr. Trump said after the meeting, according to Reuters.

Despite the upbeat message, the meeting could have gotten off on the wrong foot when a reporter asked Mr. Trump if he still wanted Mexico to pay for the proposed border wall. Mr. Trump answered, “Absolutely,” according to a video posted online by ABC News.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who was seated next to Mr. Peña Nieto during the exchange, said he didn’t hear what Mr. Trump said, but added that the subject of the wall wasn’t brought up during the meeting.

Mexican officials have insisted they would walk out of any meeting between both sides if the U.S. team brought up Mexico paying for the wall.

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Mexican smuggler says Trump’s wall won’t stop him

(SEEKER) — He grew up poor in Nogales, Mexico, just across the border from Arizona. His dad died when he was a teen, his mother worked as a cook. He couldn’t afford the things he wanted. There weren’t many jobs for a guy like Pancho, as he calls himself.

But there was a steady gig that paid $2,000 a week — smuggling marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border — and Pancho took it. He’s 29 now, a father of five, and he says he works long hours to support his family, “so that they won’t be in need.” It’s a risky life, but he’s done it for 12 years, and he doesn’t think anything President Donald Trump does about a border wall will stop the illegal narcotics trade.

“No matter what you do here, we can still get through,” said Pancho, while sitting in the dim light of an abandoned tenement just a few minutes south of the border. It was cold and damp, and he sat hunched in a chair in a musty room with a dirty old mattress and newspapers scattered across the floor. The fence along the border used to be shorter, he recalled. It’s higher now, but that’s no impediment.

Smugglers always seem to find a way around such obstacles — over, under or around. US law enforcement agents know this.

“Drugs will come in through every direction,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada in Nogales, Ariz., located just across the border. “They’ll throw the drugs over the fence. They’ll push them through.” That or they will tunnel beneath or send people deep into the mountains, where the fence is less obtrusive.

“These cartels, they’re a 24/7 business, thinking of ways to bring drugs across,” Estrada continued. “They’ll do it through the ports of entry, the Mariposa commercial port. You know, they’ll get a ton, two tons of marijuana come in on some of those trailers.”

The drug smuggling is unrelenting.

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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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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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Border Patrol union: Trump’s border plan ‘gives us the tools we need’

(BREITBART) — by Ildefonso Ortiz

As President Donald J. Trump prepares to kick off his new border security plan, various news outlets have begun to criticize the effort by focusing on the border wall. However, members from the union representing the men and women from the U.S. Border Patrol stated that the proposal comes from listening to agents instead of politicians.

Various outlets have continued to question the notion of building a border wall and have focused on the perceived challenges of such an enterprise. Other outlets have criticized the effectiveness of the measure claiming that it does not address the current immigration crisis. The various news organizations have failed to mention the complete control that Mexican drug cartels have over human smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and other illicit activities along both sides of the border.

The executive orders that President Trump will be signing provides border security agents with the tools that they have been denied for too long, said Hector Garza, a U.S. Border Patrol agent and the President for the Local 2455 of the National Border Patrol Council. As part of the union’s leadership, Garza is able to speak about issues affecting the men and women that he represents.

Despite the many misconceptions by pundits and individuals who have not been to the border, a wall with the addition of new manpower, surveillance technology and other equipment will be an effective tool in slowing down illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Garza said.

“We know we won’t have a wall along the 2,000 miles of border,” he said. “What we will have is a wall where it is needed. That barrier with proper manpower, resources, technology and other tools will be effective. But most important, for the first time we have a president that wants to secure the border.”

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Trump pushes Congress to quickly fund wall

(BREITBART) — Deputies for President-elect Donald Trump are pressing Hill Republicans to appropriate funds by April for a quick start to the construction of a border wall, according to CNN.

The quick spending for the wall would be legally authorized by a long-standing 2006 law, which allows the federal government to build 700 miles of double-layer fencing on the border.

“It was not done in the Obama administration, so by funding the authorization that’s already happened a decade ago, we could start the process of meeting Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge to secure the border,” GOP Rep. Luke Messer told CNN.

But the Hill appropriations would break a promise, CNN says:

The move would break a key campaign promise when Trump repeatedly said he would force Mexico to pay for the construction of the wall along the border.

In fact, Trump did not claim he would force Mexico to pay the initial costs of the wall, which likely will reduce the huge financial and civic costs imposed by illegal immigration on American communities.

Trump’s demand for quick funding from Congress may help the administration overcome back-room opposition from Democratic and GOP legislators who may try to slow and delay Trump’s border enforcement priorities.

So far, senior GOP leaders have promised they will support Trump’s demand for border security, but they have resisted growing public pressure — and his campaign promise — to reduce legal immigration and companies’ use of guest-workers.

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