Trump pushes back on chief of staff claims that border wall pledges ‘uninformed’

01/18/2018 Washington Post

Border fence

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that some of the hard-line immigration policies President Trump advocated during the campaign were “uninformed,” that the United States will never construct a wall along its entire southern border and that Mexico will never pay for it, according to people familiar with the meeting.

The comments were out of sync with remarks by Trump, who in recent days has reiterated his desire to build a border wall that would be funded by Mexico “indirectly through NAFTA.”

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Trump Reiterates Nafta Threat, Linking Talks to Mexico Wall

01/11/2018 Bloomberg

flag picturePresident Donald Trump reiterated his threat to withdraw the U.S. from Nafta while saying that gains from a new deal could be used to pay for a wall at the Mexican border.

A day after Canadian officials said they viewed the odds of withdrawal as rising, Trump repeated his threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if it can’t be reworked in his favor, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing an interview with the president. However, Trump said he was willing to be “a little bit flexible” about the deal until after Mexico’s presidential election in July. He didn’t elaborate on what that means.

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‘Trump Effect’ Wears Off as Migrants Resume Their Northward Push

01/10/2018 New York Times

US-Mexico_border_fenceMigrant shelters along the southern border are filling up again. Immigration lawyers in the region say their caseloads are spiking. Across the Southwest, border officers are stopping more than 1,000 people a day.

Just months after border apprehensions hit a 17-year low, which administration officials proudly celebrated as a “Trump effect,” the number of migrants trying to enter the United States has been surging, surpassing 40,000 along the Southwest border last month, more than double the springtime numbers, according to new data from the Homeland Security Department.

Many factors, including the Central American economy and gang violence, play a role in migration patterns. But it also appears that any deterrent effect of Mr. Trump’s tough talk and ramped-up immigration enforcement has begun to wane.

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To Pay for Wall, Trump Would Cut Proven Border Security Measures

01/08/2018 New York Times

Border - MexicoWASHINGTON — The Trump administration would cut or delay funding for border surveillance, radar technology, patrol boats and customs agents in its upcoming spending plan to curb illegal immigration — all proven security measures that officials and experts have said are more effective than building a wall along the Mexican border.

President Trump has made the border wall a focus of his campaign against illegal immigration to stop drugs, terrorists and gangs like MS-13 from coming into the United States. Under spending plans submitted last week to Congress, the wall would cost $18 billion over the next 10 years, and be erected along nearly 900 miles of the southern border.

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Trump claims Mexico will pay for wall – day after seeking $18bn from Congress

01/06/2018 The Guardian

US-Mexico_border_fenceDonald Trump insisted on Saturday that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern US border, one day after his administration asked Congress for $18bn over the next decade to start construction on the barrier.

“I believe Mexico will pay for the wall,” Trump said during a brief news conference at Camp David, where he was meeting congressional Republican leaders to plan for the 2018 midterms.

“I have a very good relationship with Mexico. But yes, in some form, Mexico will pay for the wall.”

Mexico has repeatedly stated that it will not pay to build the wall.

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How the original US-Mexico border markers led to decades of fear and antipathy

12/11/2017 The Guardian

Before the fence, there were obelisks – 276 monuments marking the US-Mexico border that were erected after the Mexican-American war ended in 1848.

In 2007, David Taylor, an Arizona-based artist and professor, set out to photograph them all – a task that lasted seven years and took him from the Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua border to the Pacific Ocean, passing through cities and remote mountainous terrain.

Taylor did this during an era of ever-growing militarisation as cartel-related violence soared and the US continued to ramp up its post-9/11 spending on border security, adding to political and cultural tensions mined by Donald Trump, who continues to demand the construction of the border wall he advocated during his successful presidential campaign.

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She begged him not to leave Mexico again. But the lure of America was powerful, and deadly

12/1/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

border usa mexicoOn a cloudy morning last October, Agustin Poblete Ortega stopped by his wife’s house to tell her he was leaving again. Rosa Icela Nava, then 27, didn’t want him to go. Her whole life she had been surrounded by men who had gone north, and sometimes never returned. And while her relationship with Poblete had been rocky over the last year — she had moved out of his family’s house because of his drinking — he was a good father to their two young daughters. She wanted to ask him to stay, to tell him about the sick feeling in her stomach. But Nava kept her feelings inside, as was her habit. “I can’t stop you,” she told him. “Take care of the kids,” he said.

 

If Poblete was addicted to alcohol — he could never have just one tequila or beer — he was also addicted to American wages. On his five previous trips north, he had grown accustomed to earning $15 an hour. Back in his hometown of Malinalco, Mexico, he chafed as bosses handed him the equivalent of just $10 after a day of hard work.

He had been part of a large wave of Mexicans returning home in recent years, a phenomenon fueled by harsher conditions in the U.S. and new opportunities back home that is upending the immigration narrative on both sides of the border.

Coming back to Mexico is not easy for everybody. For Poblete, who had tasted the good life north of the border, the real winners in Mexico’s growing economy seemed to be the millionaire business and political leaders who arrived by helicopter to play at Malinalco’s exclusive golf resort — not high school dropouts like him.
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