Trump admin taking quiet steps on seizing border land, report says

11/13/2017 CNN

Although approval for a new border wall has yet to come, the Trump administration has taken subtle steps to be able to seize land to build one, including by restarting litigation that has laid dormant for years against landowners, according to a new report from Senate Democrats.

Roughly two-thirds of the US-Mexico border runs through private or state-owned lands, meaning the federal government would need to purchase, seize or seek permission to use land in order to build a border wall. Based on efforts a decade ago to build border fencing, that process is likely to cost the government millions and could take years of complex litigation.

And it appears the administration is gearing up for it.

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Prescription drug smuggling busts spike on Arizona-Mexico border

11/11/2017 The Arizona Daily Star 

drugsA woman walked up to a blue SUV in a Food City parking lot in Nogales, Arizona, and started removing packages of prescription drugs from her groin.

She handed the packages to two men in the SUV who had crossed the border earlier that day and received pills from different carriers in the parking lots of a Walmart and the Food City in Nogales on Aug. 17, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

Oblivious to the Homeland Security Investigations agents following them, the men in the SUV, Juan Valenzuela Armenta, 22, and Jose Perez Val, 26, headed to the post office with 14 envelopes filled with pharmaceuticals, according to the Sept. 1 criminal complaint.

Over the span of three days, federal prosecutors said camera footage recorded the men trying to mail about 4,400 prescription pills divided among 29 different envelopes before agents intercepted them.

Homeland Security nominee says no need for full U.S.-Mexico border wall

11/8/2017 Reuters

GettyImages-624165050(Reuters) – Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security told a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday there was no need to build a wall on the Mexican border “from sea to shining sea” in remarks that contrasted with the president’s campaign pledge.

Kirstjen Nielsen repeated at her confirmation hearing what her predecessor, John Kelly, had said about the project. Kelly, Nielsen’s former boss, stepped down as head of the department this year to be Trump’s chief of staff.

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Build a park, not a wall: Group pitches plan for public access at U.S.-Mexico border

11/4/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

4042197259_173a947df1_bAbout 14 miles west of the Trump administration’s prototypes for a future border wall, a small group of San Diego-Tijuana border residents has begun championing a very different notion: removing the wall altogether.

Instead of a double fence, the small, all-volunteer organization Friends of Friendship Parkenvisions a binational park and pedestrian port of entry at the westernmost end of the 1,969-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

“Hey, if you’re going to prototype a border wall, why not prototype a border park?” asks John Fanestil, a Methodist minister who offers weekly Communion at the fence. “Why not prototype friendship on the U.S.-Mexico border?”

A long shot? For sure.

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Mexico’s earthquakes complicate life for Central American migrants fleeing violence

10/30/2017 PRI

On a sultry summer morning, Central American migrants huddled together in the courtyard of the Hermanos en el Camino migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, discussing the complexities of checkers.

Joel Álvarez, 27, moved one of the plastic bottle caps that served as checkers pieces over a piece of plywood lacquered with blue and red squares, painted with nail polish. When Álvarez successfully got a piece into his opponent’s side of the board he flipped the bottle cap over, crowning it king. He calls checkers an “obligatory pastime.”

The checkers games at this migrant shelter are a fun distraction from long, boring days where the temperature often climbs up to 100 degrees. Most migrants standing here fled violent gangs in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. Álvarez had two older brothers who were recruited to work for rival gangs. They urged their younger brother not to take the same path; both were dead by age 24.

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How Americans, Mexicans see each other differs for those closer to border

10/25/2017, Pew Research Center

border usa mexicoAmid tense relations between the United States and Mexico, one of the factors affecting the way Mexicans and Americans view each other is proximity to the border. But border-dwellers in the two countries don’t lean the same way: Americans living in parts of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are less favorable toward Mexico than Americans further from the border, while in Mexico those near the boundary between the two countries are more positive toward the U.S. than other Mexicans.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) living within 200 miles of the border hold a favorable view of Mexico, compared with 66% in other parts of the U.S. The reverse is true on the Mexican side: 41% of Mexicans who live within 200 miles of the U.S. border have a favorable view of the U.S. compared with only 28% of those who live further away.

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Prototypes for US-Mexico border wall unveiled

10/24/2017 CNBC

Source: CNBC

Nine months after President Donald Trump took office, the first tangible signs of progress on one of the central promises of his campaign have appeared along the U.S. border with Mexico.

A couple of miles from the bustling Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, eight towering chunks of concrete and steel stand as high as 30 feet tall against the sky, offering possible models for what Trump has promised will one day be a solid wall extending the full length of the southern border, from California to Texas.

Whether any of the eight different prototypes, constructed over the last month, become part of an actual wall remains highly uncertain.

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