U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall is not going down well with many Americans – especially those who live on the border.
For decades, American border towns have been inter-connected in social, political and economic terms with their Mexican counterparts.
CGTN’s Sean Callebs visited one such community to see how people were reacting to the proposed border wall.
Trump’s border wall with Mexico not popular with some border townsU.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall is not going down well with many Americans – especially those who live on the border. For decades, American border towns have been inter-connected in social, political and economic terms with their Mexican counterparts. CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.
Mexican culture is deeply intertwined in the U.S. city of McAllen, Texas – a border-town, that is roughly 80 percent Latino.
Though thousands of people pass each way from Mexico and the U.S. through a checkpoint legally each day, McAllen does have a huge fence that stretches across 30 kilometers — an effort to keep people from sneaking into the United States illegally.
And here, Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric of “building a wall” played well for a while.
“I thought it was shorthand rendition for border protection. I didn’t think that the President meant that literally. And now, apparently, almost literally he means that,” Jim Darling, the mayor of McAllen said.
It’s hard to find anyone in this town who thinks a wall separating Mexico from the U.S. is a good idea.
That’s because McAllen benefits from NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – and a strong relationship with Mexico.
The head of the region’s Free Trade Zone said he’ll be closely watching what Donald Trump will talk about at the joint session of the U.S Congress.
Keith Patridge, president of the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone, wants President Trump to take a practical approach to secure the border. “The question is we want it to be common sense. and we want it to be effective,” she said.
By common sense, people here want the Trump administration to reach out to the border patrol, law enforcement — people who work and live along the border.
Many here in the Rio Grande Valley want to see NAFTA continue-an agreement that created jobs for tens of thousands of people in this region, and lured companies from China, Japan, Korea and many other nations here. Even though legions of Mexicans come to the U.S. each day right now it’s difficult to get anyone to talk.