Twenty-four-year-old Miriam Cepeda wants to make America great again – by Donald Trump’s standards – and she’s not afraid to say it. In a Texas region where 90 percent of the population is Latino and 70 percent voted for Obama in 2012, she volunteers to campaign for Trump. “Being a Latina and supporting Mr. Donald J. Trump in this democratic stronghold that we live in here in the Rio Grande valley is hard in the sense that I get shot down maybe four [out of] five times, but at the same time it just takes one positive feedback to keep you going.”
She’s not shy about the elephant in the room, either. “Our culture is very machísimo [but she means machista] so that meaning there’s a lot of pride and honor; they will not give into somebody that’s claiming that their race are rapists or criminals.”
“That’s the truth. That’s what the truth is,” she says frankly. “He’s the only candidate that’s been upfront about it. Even though the statistics are there, they will refuse to see them.”
To stand behind his Cinco De Mayo taco bowl fiasco, she held a traditional pachanga with tamales, sangria and – yep – taco salad. The panchanga was packed proving that Cepeda is not the only Trump supporter in the valley. They even proudly shared the Trump piñata they had sitting in the middle of the room. Maybe they didn’t know piñatas usually get the sh*t beat out of them. Or perhaps they did. Part of the whole strategy seems to be unapologetic recognition of people’s feelings of Trump and their opposition to them. It’s so bold we almost admire it. Except, Trump.
A stretch of President Trump’s infamous border wall that was newly constructed in Calexico, California, collapsed and fell into Mexicalli, Mexico due to strong winds this Wednesday. “We have a very powerful wall,” said the president in November, but judging by the photos of the toppled over structure, it doesn’t really look like it.
Agent Carlos Pitones of the Customs and Border Protection sector in El Centro, California, told CNN that the section of the wall that gave into the wind had recently been set in a new concrete foundation in Calexico, California. The concrete had not yet cured, according to Pitones, and the wall panels were unable to withstand the weather conditions.
The structure landed on trees that prevented it from hitting the ground.
“Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Carlos Pitones said. Nobody is believed to have been injured.
The National Weather Service reported that winds in the area gusted as high as 37 mph Wednesday.
Video from CNN affiliate KYMA shows the metal panels leaning against the trees adjacent to a Mexicali, Mexico, street as the wind whips up dirt from the construction site on the other side of the border.
The fence is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing construction project to stop illegal migration across the 1,954 mile-long (3,145 km) US-Mexico border.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump declared at a campaign event in New Jersey that the wall was “going up at record speed.”A day later, the winds blew a section of newly installed panels against a road in Mexicali, on the Mexican side of the border.
When visiting a section of the wall in California last year, Mr Trump described its concrete and steel slats as “virtually impenetrable.”
First we find out you can cut through the wall with a cheap electric saw, then came it falling over by a gust of wind, and now we find that parts of the wall are worthless because they have to have floodgates open for months on end.
Despite three years of slow progress, Trump has pledged to build 450 miles by 2021, in an attempt to boost his electoral chances later this year. While President Trump has often claimed the wall “can’t be climbed”, viral footage has shown multiple people climbing existing portions of the costly barrier, and to-scale replicas, with ease.
US heads to court to build Trump border wall in Texas
3 years, almost no land taken so far. But DOJ lawyers have filed three lawsuits now seeking to take landowners property. Much of the land on the border is privately held and environmentally sensitive. https://t.co/MqYpumVH3q
As well as facing political and legal challenges, the Trump administration has also had to beat physical obstacles, filing three lawsuits towards the end of 2019 as part of efforts to seize US citizens’ property. The Department of Justice has said it’s preparing to file more lawsuits of the same nature, Associated Press reported in November.
The US president claimed he wasn’t familiar with a Washington Post report suggesting smugglers had cut through.
FUN FACT: Smugglers in Mexico have repeatedly cut holes in Trump’s newly constructed “impenetrable” border wall using power tools, opening gaps large enough for people to pass through.
The Post’s report said that smugglers had succeeded in cutting through sections of the border wall using everyday household power tools. “I haven’t heard that. We have a very powerful wall”, President Trump said. “But no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching.”
Customs and Border Protection says local Mexicali officials diverted traffic from the area of the accident, and the agency is working with the Mexican government on the next steps to right the wall. Pitones said it is not currently known how long the construction work in the area will need to be suspended in order to allow for cleanup.
Unless you’ve been completely disconnected from reality, you likely know that this year is a presidential election year. Both Donald Trump and candidates for the Democratic primary have been touring their policy positions ahead of the election and regardless of who ends up in the White House, there will be serious changes to the United States’ immigration policies.
Even before the November election, we can expect major policy changes under the Trump Administration. And given the president’s previous stance on immigration, we shouldn’t expect him to stand before the Statue Of Liberty and tout the USA as a beacon of hope for migrants and its tradition as a nation of migrants. But here’s what we should expect in the new year:
On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which currently grants work authorization and administrative relief from deportation for up to 700,000 individuals who came to America before the age of 16. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the administration, then talk of a legislative compromise will increase. However, the closer it gets to the November 2020 presidential election, the less likely a deal may become.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
A November 1, 2019, Federal Register notice automatically extended “the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador through Jan. 4, 2021.” However, a decision in the case of Ramos v. Nielsen, which blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind Temporary Protected Status for several countries, could end long-term stays in the United States for approximately 300,000 people.
Refugee and Asylum Policies
In September 2019, the Trump administration announced a historically low annual refugee admission ceiling of 18,000 for FY 2020, a reduction of 84% from the 110,000-limit set during the last year of the Obama administration. “The administration betrays our national commitment to offering refuge and religious freedom to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities,” said World Relief in a statement. There is no reason to anticipate the administration will raise the refugee ceiling for FY 2021.
In response to an executive order mandating consent from state and local authorities to resettle refugees, more than 30 governors have written letters to the State Department pledging their states will continue to resettle refugees. Three organizations have filed a lawsuit over the executive order.
Numerous lawsuits have challenged the administration’s asylum policies toward Central Americans. In one respect, the administration has already “won” on asylum, since the policies to block most asylum seekers and send them to Mexico and other countries have been allowed to remain in place while litigation has continued.
Donald Trump is determined to build as much of a “wall” as possible before the November 2020 election. Anticipate stepped-up seizures of private landand fights with judges and environmental groups.
The Public Charge Rule
On October 4, 2019, a presidential proclamation used Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar new immigrants from entering the United States without health insurance, potentially reducing legal immigration by hundreds of thousands of people per year. A similar reduction in legal immigration could result if the administration’s rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds goes into effect.
Judges have blocked both measures, at least temporarily, but if a court clears either for use, then it could be the Trump administration’s most far-reaching immigration measure. A permanent reduction in the flow of legal immigrants would reduce the long-term rate of economic growth in America, making these actions potentially the most significant policies to affect the U.S. economy under the Trump presidency.
Workplace Enforcement Rules
Since Donald Trump took office, investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened about four times the number of workplace investigations as compared to the Obama administration. That trend is likely to continue in 2020. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Garcia may represent a more significant immigration enforcement threat for companies. Paul Hughes, who represented Garcia, said in an interview if the court rules in favor of Kansas, then “local city and county prosecutors could engage in mass prosecutions of employees and employers” for “the employment of immigrants who lack work authorization.”
Decriminalizing Illegal Border Crossings
If a Democrat wins the White House come November, we can expect increased conversations on decriminalizing illegal border crossings. Julian Castro first floated the idea during a Democratic debate and since then the idea has been picked up by other candidates as well. This would be a major shift in US policy but one that could bring immense change to migrant communities.
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