“It will revert to what has been tested and what works for it,” said a local immigration advocate.
McLean, Texas – besieged by political crises after agitation A fatal rebellion At the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump returned Tuesday to one of the bread and butter issues that helped propel him into office: the border wall.
During a tour of construction near San Juan in South Texas, Trump appeared to be honest with himself in his previous campaign, brandishing his supporters and exaggerating the project’s progress as a political victory at a time when his legacy was a huge success.
“When I took office, we inherited broken, dysfunctional, and open borders,” he told the audience in a short speech. “We overhauled our immigration system and achieved the safest southern borders in US history.”
In 2015, Trump said he would build the wall on it Almost half of the 2,000-mile-long border between the United States and Mexico. But this number has continued to decline. At the State of the Union Conference 2020 SpeechBy early 2021, Trump said, “we’ll have roughly 500+ miles.”
The total is currently around 450 miles.
“Unlike those who preceded me, I fulfilled my promise. Today, we celebrate an extraordinary achievement: the completion of the 450-mile border wall,” Trump said Tuesday.
Although Trump’s original promise was not fulfilled, his supporters insisted on the president’s acquittal and celebrated his arrival. As his motorcade passed by, Elsa Zamora jumped up and down, her arms in the air, tears in her eyes. “This is my boss, this is my boss!” The 45-year-old screamed.
But where Trump sees success, critics see the scar tissue of his four years in office – hundreds of immigrant children as well. Still separate From their parents, the asylum system remains largely closed, and the immigrant community still deals with their use as scapegoats to stoke hatred during the campaign.
“It’s very humiliating for him to come to South Texas in particular,” Evrin Olivares, deputy legal director for immigrant justice at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s a place that was the epicenter of family separation and where we have a refugee camp along the Rio Grande River on the other side of the border in Mexico.”
“It goes back to what has been tested and what suits it,” Olivares added. “I think that’s why he’s here, and that’s why he will use every opportunity to continue talking about migrants as criminals.”
Olivares said Trump should focus on the epidemic that has hit southern Texas hard. Friday, it was the Rio Grande Valley Reset As a “high hospitalization area” by state health officials.
“Instead, he comes here to do allegedly win a prize, a meaningless project that has wasted millions and millions of dollars,” Olivares said.
Laura Pina, a former ICE attorney, said she believes Trump has encouraged the trip as a way to prevent him from causing more damage to the Republican Party after the deadly rebellion last week.
Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, she said the area has always been a place where you can almost instantly see the impact of immigration policies on borders. When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect in 1994, Pina began seeing children from other parts of Texas in her classrooms, children whose parents worked in Mexican factories on the other side of the border.
Pena said that trips to Mexican cities like Matamoros were popular as people had relatives and friends who lived on both sides of the border.
“I have memories of going to Matamoros to eat, dance and go to dentists’ appointments,” Pina said. “Then I have my last memories of trying to counsel a family that was recently kidnapped and tortured in the same area where I would have celebrated New Year’s Eve two decades ago or near the dentist.”
She now works as an immigrant rights advocate working with asylum seekers who have been forced to wait in Mexico for immigration cases to be completed in the United States. Along with lawyers and other volunteers, Bina has tried to help the migrants, some of whom live in a miserable camp on the border in fear of being kidnapped or extorted by gangs.
She said it will take a long time for the Rio Grande Valley to remove the stigma from a border region in crisis, as families have been torn apart and migrants tortured in neighboring Mexico after being stranded by Trump’s policies.
“The valley has been used as a pawn for the past four years, and that is not what we are,” Pina said. “This was fertile ground, and a starting point, for a lot of this cruelty. There was racism and phobia before Trump, but he definitely set a lot of that fires here, just as he did in other parts of the country, and Trumpism has already taken hold here.”
But as the motorcade passed Trump through crowds of enthusiastic supporters waving flags, the visit in the final days of his presidency made a different impression on Zamora.
“He started his campaign saying he’d be the wall, right?” She said. Promises made and promises.