Opinions vary along the wall at the US-Mexico border

World Today

President Donald Trump’s proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border has sparked a national discussion on immigration policy.

One place at the center of that debate is the Texas border city of El Paso.

CGTN’s Toby Muse visited to see if residents support the wall.

The U.S.-Mexico border, where highways in the state of Texas turn into Mexican avenidas or avenues.

El Paso, Texas is home to a whole herd of different opinions on U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the border with its southern neighbor.

Israel Ramos is a security guard here. He has family on both sides of the border.

“I understand they’re trying to come over here for a better life, but why can’t they do it the proper way,” he said.

Ramos worries about the financial burden non-U.S. citizens put on public services.

“In my eyes, we shouldn’t have the wall, just enforce it more,” he said.

Others point to Mexico’s deadly drug war and say a wall is needed to stop the cartels moving north.

Roger Rodriguez is the coordinator of the terrorism and homeland security program at the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss in El Paso.

The Mexican cartels make billions of dollars and have a penchant for savage violence. They have become a national security threat and, Rodriguez believes, only stoppable by a wall.

“Now what we’re seeing is that there’s no difference between a terrorist organization and the cartels,” he said.

The Jalisco Cafe is a landmark here, famous for its lunchtime menudo dish, a traditional Mexican soup.

Hector Chavez is the owner and thinks the wall is just like the fence in El Paso; it won’t stop drugs coming in, either.

“We’ve had walls here forever. It’s never worked. They say there’s a lot of drugs. There’s a demand here, so there’s going to be drugs here anyways. If there’s a demand, there’s a supply,” he said.

In a restaurant, Sandra Dominguez lunches with her mother. She believes the U.S. should welcome immigrants. “The humanity of it. Myself as a human being and a child of immigrants,” Dominguez said.

Rancher Ed Orr believes the wall is needed. He remembers what life was like before the government put up a five and a half meter fence at the end edge of his farm, right along the border, two decades ago.

“When they’re hauling dope through your property in broad daylight over and over again and you see 10, 15 illegals crossing right by your house, I said: it may be time to go. And then when they put the fence up, it put an end to all that,” Orr said.

He hopes that if Trump can build a wall, it will do the same for whole border region. The debate about what to do at the border is set to keep going.