Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump insists ‘actual emergency’ exists at US-Mexico border

Trump insists ‘actual emergency’ exists at US-Mexico border

So, as I say, and this is our new statement: The system is full. "Our country is full".

Abandoning his threat to immediately seal the southern border, President Donald Trump warned instead that he'd slap tariffs on cars coming to the US from Mexico unless the Mexicans do more to stop the flow of migrants and drugs to the U.S.

Nevertheless, Trump sees his campaign against a "crisis" on the border as key to his 2020 reelection bid, and his time in Calexico was meant to keep that message in the headlines. But Trump, who racheted up his hard-line immigration rhetoric in recent weeks, declared that his move, which included vetoing a congressional vote, was necessary. Eight prototypes went up, and Trump traveled to the border to inspect them past year.

"We're also going to do something having to do with tariffs on drugs because. hundreds of thousands of lives (are) ruined a year in our country", he said.

Part of the 3.2-kilometre see-through steel-slat barrier. John Cornyn of Texas, who spoke with Trump this week and offered to work with the administration "to try to come up with some more targeted ideas", including changes for remittances to Mexico.

As for concerns his actions might interfere with the trade deal he fought for, Trump said the border was "more important to me than the USMCA".

"I never changed my mind at all", the president claimed, as he pushed Congress act.

Longtime border official Ron Vitiello appeared to be cruising toward confirmation, but Trump said Friday that he wanted to go in a 'tougher direction'.

Trump says there is a national emergency from the influx of undocumented migrants and drugs and that drastic action is needed. But the settlement is actually named after Jenny Flores, a 15-year-old girl from El Salvador whose 1985 detention by USA immigration enforcement (then known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service) was the subject of a class-action lawsuit.

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Trump instead imposed a one-year deadline on Mexico to stem the flow of immigrants and drugs into the U.S. or face a 25-percent tariff on cars it exports to the U.S. Trump delivered another threat to Mexico via Twitter Friday, warning he is "looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border".

Separately on Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will sue to block President Trump's transfer of money to pay for the wall. "I know about hoaxes, I just went through a hoax", he said at one point, indicating 'Russiagate'.

Protesters had their moment in the hours before Trump arrived, flying a giant balloon in the shape of a diapered "baby Trump" in a nearby section of border. And as Trump landed in California, the state's governor ripped the president's push for Congress to pass legislation that would tighten asylum rules to make it harder for people to qualify.

Trump has become increasingly exasperated at his inability to do more to halt the swelling numbers of migrants entering the country.

However, he added he's still opening to shutting down the border after a year grace period. Since Dec. 21, the agency set free more than 125,000 people who came into the families.

The southern border is almost 3200km long and already has about 1050km of different types of barriers, including short vehicle barricades and tall steel fences that go up to 9 metres high. Most of the fencing was built during the administration of George W. Bush, and there have been updates and maintenance throughout other administrations.

He was heading to the Southern California town of Calexico to meet local law enforcement officials and to tour a section of recently rebuilt fencing. Construction for that small chunk of fencing cost about US$18 million, began in February 2018 and was completed in October. Plans to replace that fence date back to 2009, during the beginning of President Barack Obama's tenure.

Though Mr Trump, who has pulled a series of about-faces in recent days, walked away from this threat to close the border, he still intends to highlight conditions at the boundary with Mexico.

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