Now or never: Trump’s Mexico wall threat encourages migration to US

4/5/2016 The Guardian

mexican immigrantCatalina Maldonado wanted to flee El Salvador for the US to protect her son from danger. After learning of Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, she decided it was now or maybe never.

If the Republican candidate’s supporters might be delighted that some in Central America are treating the prospect of a wall-raising President Trump with high seriousness, in the short term it appears his rhetoric may be encouraging – not dissuading – migrants to head north to escape poverty and violence.

“We heard he wants to build those walls. That’s why we came,” Maldonado said. “A lot of people are talking about it in El Salvador. They say really bad things about him,” the 34-year-old added through a translator in a shelter in Texas’s Rio Grande valley, the centre of the 2014 surge in unauthorized crossings by families and unaccompanied minors and still the busiest route.

More than half of the lone children and families caught crossing the south-west border this fiscal year have been apprehended in the area, which offers the shortest journey from Central America, has sizable populations on both sides of the frontier, flat terrain and dense scrubland and where the only barrier between the US and Mexico is natural: the narrow, serpentine Rio Grande river.

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