Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump signs directive for border wall; critics say migrants will cross at more dangerous areas

President Trump on Wednesday signed executive actions "to build a border wall with Mexico and cut off funds to cities that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities," David Nakamura reports for The Washington Post. The presidential directives "aim to create more detention centers, add thousands of Border Patrol agents and withhold federal funds from what are known as sanctuary cities, which do not comply with federal immigration laws. One order calls for the 'immediate construction of a physical wall.'” There are an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S.

Trump promised that construction of the border wall would begin within months, Nakurmura writes. "Federal funds would have to be appropriated by Congress, and construction industry analysts have said the total costs of a barrier along the southern U.S. border with Mexico could approach $20 billion.Trump’s directives also call for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officials. Administration officials have said they are discussing funding options with GOP lawmakers." (Post map: U.S./Mexico border)
Building a wall has many on both sides worried about safety, especially in rural areas, Nigel Duara reports for the Los Angeles Times. In 2008 fencing was constructed between El Paso and Juarez, Mexico—part of President George W. Bush's $2.8 billion plan for a 650-mile barrier. While El Paso became one the nation's safest cities, a record number of migrants from Mexico and Central America died from 2010-14 while trying to cross through the Sonoran Desert into Arizona, Duara writes.

Carlos Marentes, who in 1995 founded the Border Farm Workers Center in El Paso, "worries that plans for a larger wall will push the migrant workers who use his center farther from the relative safety of the cities and into the wild desert of west Texas," Duara writes. Carlos Valdiviezo told Duara, "People are going to find a way to cross; you cannot stop that. But the wall will change much about life on the border. People will find a way to cross, but it will be more dangerous now."

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