The Border Is All Around Us, and It’s Growing

4/25/2017 New York Times

Border fenceThe Border Patrol agent watched our Prius approach, then signaled for us to stop. Behind him stood several others in green uniforms, hands resting on holsters, eyes hidden behind sunglasses. German shepherds panted in the heat. “Are you all U.S. citizens?” the agent asked, leaning against the driver’s-side window and glancing around our car. “Yes,” said one of my companions, an artist from Iowa. “Yes,” echoed the other, a poet from Connecticut. Then it was my turn. “Yes,” I said. The agent’s gaze lingered on me for a moment. Then he stood up and waved us through the border.

Except this was not a border: This was the middle of Interstate 10 between El Paso and Marfa, Tex. No matter. At the Sierra Blanca checkpoint, agents can make arrests for drugs or weapons, share information with federal agencies and turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are many such checkpoints scattered throughout the continental United States — borders within borders.

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Mexico Worries That A New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding

4/25/2017 NPR

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Flickr/Christine

As the White House pushes Congress to fund President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, a new wrinkle has emerged that could stymie parts of the massive project.

Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.

Antonio Rascón, chief Mexican engineer on the International Boundary and Water Commission, said in an interview with NPR that some border wall proposals he’s seen would violate the treaty, and that Mexico would not stand for that.

“A concrete wall that blocks trans-border water movement is a total obstruction. If they plan that type of project, we will oppose it,” he said in his first public comments on the border wall.

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The Latest: Trump Says Wall ‘Important Tool’ Against Drugs

Donald_Trump)4/24/2017 New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

9 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that a border wall with Mexico would be an “important tool” for stopping the flow of drugs into the United States.

Trump tweeted Monday that, “the Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)!”

Trump approaches the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration this week, renewing his demands that a must-pass government funding bill should include money for the wall.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump jabbed at Democrats, who vigorously oppose wall funding.

He said, “the Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.”

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Trump says Mexico ‘eventually’ will pay for border wall

4/23/2017 Reuters

trumpmexico_083116getty_0President Donald Trump said on Sunday he expected Mexico to pay for the wall he has promised to build along the southern border, resuscitating a campaign promise that roiled U.S. relations with Mexico in the first week of his presidency.

“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump said in a Twitter post.

Trump returned to his Mexico demand on a morning in which he simultaneously tried to pressure congressional Democrats to include funding for the border wall in must-pass spending legislation needed to keep the U.S. government open beyond Friday.

A spokesman for the Mexican president’s office said President Enrique Pena Nieto has repeated that Mexico will not pay for the wall.

The Republican president’s demand that Mexico pay for the border wall triggered a diplomatic crisis with the southern U.S. neighbor during the first week of his presidency. Pena Nieto on Jan. 26 scrapped a planned trip to meet with Trump and the White House floated the idea of a 20 percent tax on goods from Mexico to pay for the wall.

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Mexico says 2 top drug traffickers killed near US border

4/23/2017 The Washington Post

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Flickr/Júbilo Haku

MEXICO CITY — Two top drug traffickers have been killed in pre-dawn shootouts Saturday with federal forces in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas, authorities reported.

The Tamaulipas security spokesman’s office said the men were killed in separate confrontations, which left highways littered with burned-out vehicles.

Julian Loisa Salinas, better known as “Comandante Toro,” was killed in a clash with marines in Reynosa, a city across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Loisa Salinas reportedly was the Gulf cartel’s local leader in Reynosa. Authorities had tried to capture him a number of times, leading to gunbattles with his gang. In early April, two U.S. citizens were reported wounded in one such gunfight.

On Saturday, photos showed burned-out cars, trucks and buses littering streets in Reynosa. State authorities said his supporters had set fires and tried to block roads in an unsuccessful effort to help him escape.

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Patrolling the Border on Four Legs

4/18/2017 New York Times

Border - MexicoLA GRULLA, Tex. — Manuel Torresmutt, a Border Patrol agent, pulls his white and green Chevy Tahoe to the side of a deserted gravel road, framed on one side by railroad tracks and on the other by thick green brush.

The South Texas sun streams brightly as Mr. Torresmutt, a stocky, 24-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol, steps from his truck to meet with his three-man team. A radio dispatcher says “four bodies” have been spotted on the “Mike” side, referring to the code name for the bank of the Rio Grande in Mexico.

A few minutes later, Mr. Torresmutt and other members of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector Horse Unit are on their way, rocks and dust flying as their mustangs rush into the bush in search of those crossing the border illegally.

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Border Wall Could Leave Some Americans on ‘Mexican Side’

4/16/2017 New York Times

Mexican-American_border_at_NogalesBROWNSVILLE, Texas — The last time U.S. officials built a barrier along the border with Mexico, they left an opening at the small road leading south to Pamela Taylor’s home on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Taylor hadn’t been told where the fence would be built, and she doesn’t know now whether officials are coming back to complete it.

“How would we get out?” asked Taylor, 88, sitting in the living room of the home she built with her husband half a century ago. “Do they realize that they’re penalizing people that live along this river on the American side?”

Taylor’s experience illustrates some of the effects that the border wall President Donald Trump has imagined could have on residents in the Rio Grande Valley, the sunny expanse of bilingual towns and farmland that form the southernmost point of the U.S.-Mexico border. The wall could seal some Americans on the “Mexican side” — technically on U.S. soil, but outside of a barrier built north of the river separating the two countries. Landowners could lose property, and those that already lost some for the existing fence are already preparing for a new battle.

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