Monday, April 24, 2017

Initial border plan calls for just 100 miles of wall, mostly in cities, towns and nearby rural areas

A preliminary planning document for President Trump's border wall calls for construction of 100 miles of wall mainly in "high priority" areas, mostly in urban areas and rural areas that are near urban centers, Tracy Jan and David Nakamura report for The Washington Post. The document from the Department of Homeland Security puts the wall, which would cost $3.6 billion, largely in the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas and El Paso, Tucson and San Diego. Currently, 700 miles of wall exist. The entire U.S.-Mexico border runs about 2,000 miles.

Areas were selected "because of their proximity to urban centers and roads, allowing those who cross to vanish quickly, according to the document, which was made public by congressional committee staffers," reports the Post. The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, "hailed the targeted approach as a more practical and effective solution to illegal immigration than a 2,000-mile wall stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico." Brandon Judd, the council's president, told the Post, “As long as you put it in strategic locations, it will do a good job."

Border Patrol data shows that half of the more than 400,000 illegal immigrants apprehended along the southern border in 2016 were in the Rio Grande Valley, reports the Post. Joel Villarreal, mayor of Rio Grande City, told reporters, “Donald Trump sold a seamless wall as the solution to our immigration problems, but a wall is more symbolic. I don’t believe it’s going to produce statistically significant results." (Post map: U.S./Mexico border)

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