Trump's Promise Of Wall Seen As Threat On Border, In Mexico

By Jorge Valencia, Michel Marizco
January 25, 2017

President Donald Trump announced that he intends to stick to a cornerstone promise of his campaign for a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

The president vowed to bring on 5,000 new Customs and Border Protection officers and agents and finish a wall along the Mexican border.

Trump reiterated that Mexico will pay for the wall.

Trump addressed the Homeland Security Department where he signed the executive orders Wednesday.

"A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today,the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders," he said.

In Nogales, Ariz., Mayor John Doyle worries the president will alienate his city and other border towns

"All that area, there’s millions of people that are benefiting from being neighbors to Mexico. We don’t want to mess up that relationship. We don’t want," he said.

The president’s promise also stumped some people in southern Arizona. 

Andrea Reyes pointed to the tall wall separating the two countries behind her in Nogales, Ariz.

"There’s already a wall," she said, laughing.

Here, the U.S. has already walled off 210 of 262 miles of the border with pedestrian fencing, metal security screens, walls and vehicle barriers, in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, which covers most of Arizona.

In Mexico City, people have been watching, first as, candidate Trump promised to build a wall. Then, as he was elected. And today, Jelga Jauregui watched incredulously as Trump announced the plans. She grew up vacationing in the U.S.

Jauregui studies international relations at Monterrey Tech in Mexico City. And she says what she’s worried about isn’t so much who would pay for the wall, but rather, what it represents.

"It’s more like this ideological thing saying that we don’t want you anymore with a basis of segregation and marginalization and why not discrimination?” she said.

Jauregui’s political-science professor is Jose Fernandez Santillan. He watched as Trump said the border wall would actually be helpful for Mexico. The rationale being that it would deter people, like ones who have already come from impoverished communities in Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

"It’s a simplistic solution," he said.

Santillan says even a wall along the 2,000-mile border won’t stop migrants. For example, he says, they can travel by water. Or there’s what the drug kingpin "El Chapo" Guzman did for years to transport drugs.

"El Chapo dig(sic) at least 146 tunnels through the border,” Santillan said.

At least in the immediate, the wall is souring many Mexicans’ view of the U.S. Many are calling on President Enrique Pena Nieto to suspend any trade negotiations while the wall is still on the table. And the college student Jauregui says she no longer wants to go visit the States.

"I mean, obviously, there are amazing places, and there’s knowledge and there are incredible college but why would I go now that they’re closing the doors to people like me?” she said.