Trump touts rising U.S. border ‘wall,’ proposes economic penalty on Mexico

CALEXICO, Calif. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday promised roughly 450 miles (725 km) of latest “wall” alongside the southern U.S. border, after threatening to slap Mexico with an unspecified economic penalty to crack down on what he describes as a disaster of undocumented immigration and drug trafficking.

Referring to a “colossal surge” of immigrants, Trump convened a dialogue with immigration officers and native leaders in Calexico on the U.S.-Mexico border simply north of the a lot bigger metropolis of Mexicali.

Before touring a simply accomplished 30-foot (9 meter) tall, 2.2 mile (three.5 km) barrier at Calexico, Trump mentioned extra U.S. navy sources can be dispatched to the border.

“Our country is full,” Trump mentioned in a warning to migrants. “Can’t take you anymore.

The Republican president’s newest pronouncements, together with a risk to impose auto tariffs on Mexico, are in response to a rising variety of migrants, lots of them households with kids, touring northward from Central America by way of Mexico and to the U.S. border.

During Friday’s dialogue in Calexico, Trump was handed a diamond-shaped piece of metal slate – the fabric used to assemble obstacles alongside the border.

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mentioned that by the tip of subsequent 12 months – simply after the November 2020 presidential election – about 450 miles (725 km) of latest barrier can be accomplished. Border officers have mentioned they want 722 miles (1,162 km) of latest or alternative obstacles.

Trump is counting on seizing funds from different federal accounts and shifting them for the development, a transfer being challenged in federal court docket as a result of Congress has not given approval. Democrats typically oppose Trump’s wall proposal, suggesting as a substitute different varieties of enhanced border safety that they argue could be more practical and more cost effective.

Hammering on a favourite theme, Trump earlier on Friday mentioned he was contemplating imposing an unspecified economic penalty on Mexico except it helps alleviate the United States’ drug and immigrant flows.

Although Trump has a number of instances linked the problems of unlawful immigration and drug smuggling as he tries to tighten border safety, a lot of the drug commerce shouldn’t be carried out by migrants however by skilled crime gangs that ship narcotics to the United States in autos by way of official ports of entry.

Praising Mexico for shifting lately in opposition to drug traffickers, Trump mentioned, “If they proceed that, every little thing can be tremendous. If they don’t we’re going to tariff their vehicles at 25 p.c.”

“Also, I’m looking at an economic penalty for all of the drugs that are coming in through the southern border and killing our people,” Trump instructed reporters in Washington earlier than departing for southern California.


Trump mentioned the drug-related tariff would supplant provisions of a commerce deal, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, generally known as USMCA, which has not been accepted by Congress.

In a Twitter publish on Friday morning, Trump repeated a risk to shut the border if Mexico “stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from…”

“I am looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border. Over 100,00 Americans die each year, sooo many families destroyed!” the president tweeted.

It was not instantly clear what different penalties he was contemplating. The White House didn’t reply to a request for elaboration.

It additionally was unclear the place Trump acquired the $500 billion determine.

Mike Vigil, a former chief of worldwide operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, mentioned the quantity of medication smuggled into the United States yearly was most likely within the vary of $50-$60 billion. He emphasised that it was fueled by U.S. demand.

“He’s blaming Mexico for our drug problem,” Vigil mentioned, including that his phrases may harm bilateral cooperation in battling drug-trafficking. “The president should focus on reducing the demand and facilitating drug treatment centers here in the United States,” he added.

In latest days, Mexico has taken a extra rigorous method to interviewing and registering immigrants from Central America, Haiti and Cuba, in response to officers.

Previously, the Mexican authorities freely handed out humanitarian visas with the purpose of permitting folks to remain and work legally in Mexico. But it backed away from that coverage after a surge in these requesting the paperwork and amid criticism from Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for journey to the U.S.-Mexico border from the White House in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

On Thursday, a Mexican federal police aircraft flew dozens of Haitians residence.

On Friday, the Migration Institute mentioned on Twitter that 57 Cubans have been despatched again to Cuba by aircraft within the morning. More than 60 Cubans have been flown residence final week.

Meanwhile, 20 states have filed a movement to dam Trump’s makes an attempt to divert federal funds by way of an emergency declaration, New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, mentioned on Friday. The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday additionally filed a lawsuit difficult Trump’s skill to grab the funds, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, additionally a Democrat, mentioned.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; extra reporting by Doina Chiacu, Steve Holland, Frank Jack Daniel, Lizbeth Diaz and Dave Graham; Writing by Richard Cowan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Alistair Bell and Grant McCool

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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