Things That Matter

Donald Trump Signed A New Spending Bill To Avoid A Government Shutdown And Didn’t Get Wall Funding

President Donald Trump signed a new spending bill to avoid a government shut down and no money is being used to build the border wall. Trump ran his campaign on the promise of building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and that Mexico would be paying for the wall. Of course, Trump has not been able to deliver on that campaign promise and, once again, Trump bowed and signed a spending bill with no provision for the border wall.

President Trump signed a new spending bill to avoid a government shutdown but without wall funding.

Trump signed the bill to fund the government for a year while the American public watched the Senate Judiciary Committee handle the Kavanaugh hearings. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

The proposed border wall was a major campaign promise and has been a focal point of contention with Mexico.

“They make all of this money, and they do absolutely nothing to stop people from going through Mexico, from Honduras and all these other countries, the caravan, all of this stuff,” Trump said during a rally in Nashville, Tennessee. “They do nothing to help us, nothing.”

Trump has avoided bringing up his wall pledge in public since the topic led the Mexican President to cancel plans for a visit to Washington early in Trump’s term.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has unequivocally denied that Mexico will ever pay for the wall.

“NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever,” President Enrique Nieto wrote, in both English and Spanish. “Sincerely, Mexico (all of us).” It’s not the first time Peña Nieto has denied this.

The wall has strained relations between the two nations and impacted North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada recently reworked NAFTA and created the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It is being billed as an updated version of NAFTA.

“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region,” reads a joint statement by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.”

Former Mexico President Vicente Fox has long rejected the idea that Mexico will fund any border wall.

The former President of Mexico has consistently denied Donald Trump’s claims that Mexico will pay for the border wall. He has been on the record multiple times about his displeasure with the wall and has commonly responded with his now signature line “Mexico is not paying for that f****n wall.”

Last October, prototypes were revealed in San Diego for the proposed border wall with exact details and funding source yet to be revealed.

The president has said he wants as much as $25 billion for the border wall that could take about 10 years to complete, but the $1.3-trillion spending bill he signed back in March authorized only $1.6 billion for fencing, surveillance and other security measures. This leaves many open questions on who and what will pay for the border wall.


READ: Trump Plans To Offer DACA Recipients Citizenship If U.S. Tax Dollars Can Be Used To Pay For The Border Wall

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Activist Couple Was Married At The Border Wall Where They First Met Six Years Ago

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Activist Couple Was Married At The Border Wall Where They First Met Six Years Ago

Alexandra Mendoza / Getty Images

With all the uncertainty and traumatic news happening around us, it’s so encouraging to hear stories like this one. And that’s exactly what this couple had in mind when deciding to have their wedding ceremony at the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Tijuana – the same spot they met six years ago.

In marrying at the border wall, these two deportees wanted to bring attention to their respective causes (they both head support groups for recent deportees) while giving hope to those who are facing deportation.

Their message for those who face the traumatic experience of deportation is that life goes on and no matter which side of the border you are on, you’ll fine love, be embraced by family, and chase your dreams.

An activist couple celebrated their marriage with a ceremony at the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Yolanda Varona and Héctor Barajas celebrated their love for another this past weekend, in front of the wall that divides San Diego and Tijuana. The same wall that separated them from their loved ones. The same wall where they met.

The couple met six years ago to the date, on the Mexican side of Friendship Park, while defending their respective causes. Varona is an advocate for recently deported mothers while Barajas works to help recently deported veterans.

“Someone told me go to the wall and that I’d find a veteran who was also deported and maybe with him I’d be able to do the activism that I long had wanted to do,” she told the San Diego Union Tribune in an interview.

She added that the veteran kind of intimidated her with his uniform and good looks so she asked him if she could take a picture with him to help break the ice. The pair have been inseparable ever since that ‘date’ in 2014.

Having legally celebrated their marriage back in August, the couple decided to host the ceremony with family and friends at the same spot they first met.

For both, this ceremony was important to send a message of hope to other migrant families.

Credit: Alexandra Mendoza / Getty Images

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribue, Varona, who leads the DREAMers Moms group in Tijuana, said, “It is very symbolic because this wall separated us from our children, but it reminds us that there is life out here too and we can continue fighting from here.”

All too often the story of deportation is one of an ending. However, regardless of how traumatic and difficult the experience is, it’s important to remembre that life goes on. There is a strong community in Mexico formed from those who have been deported – and many different resources to help those readjust to their new lives.

During their special ceremony, the groom couldn’t hide his happiness. “She has always been there for me, and I want to continue to be a better person, and I know good things will come for us,” he said during their ceremony.

The couple were accompanied by friends, including members of their communities: deported mothers and veterans. The ceremony was brief, given that the beaches of Tijuana are open on reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there was no lack of dancing between the couple in front of the sunset.

Their activism work brought them together but they both share similar stories as well.

Varona, who lived with her family in San Diego, was deported more than a decade ago, while Barajas, a former United States Army trooper, was involved in an altercation and after serving a year and a half in prison was repatriated to his native Mexico in 2004.

Determined to return to the U.S, Varona made another attempt at living in the U.S. without documentation but she was subsequently deported again in 2010. Upon being sent back to Tijuana, she founded the support group for deported mothers.

Barajas founded the support group for deported veterans after arriving back in Tijuana. However, in 2018, he was granted a pardon by then Governor of California, Jerry Brown, and he was able to return to the U.S. to complete the naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen.

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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

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Mexican President Criticizes DEA For Role In Former Army Chief’s Arrest

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the historic role of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico after a former Mexican army chief was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on drug charges at the request of the DEA.

The former Mexican Defense Minister was arrested by the DEA on drug charges.

Salvador Cienfuegos Zepedas was the secretary of National Defense in the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto from 2012 to 2018. President Lopez Obrador claims that the arrest is proof of corruption from past governments.

President Lopez Obrador used the arrest to criticize the U.S. government and the DEA.

President Lopez Obrador, speaking at a press conference in Oaxaca, claimed that there is a double standard. While Cienfuegos Zepedas has been arrested by the DEA, the president claims U.S. officials have not been held accountable for trafficking arms into Mexico to track them to the cartels. According to the president, Mexican officials are being held at a higher and harsher standard than U.S. officials.

“Why is it that it’s just the people in Mexico who took part in these acts being accused or implicated, and (the DEA) aren’t criticizing themselves, reflecting on the meddling by all these agencies in Mexico,” Lopez Obrador said at the press conference. “They came into the country with complete freedom, they did whatever they wanted.”

The former defense minister’s arrest sent shockwaves through Mexico.

Cienfuegos Zepedas was the first high-ranking Mexican military official to be arrested in the U.S. with drug-related corruption. He was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be facing drug and money-laundering charges. It’s been less than a year since Genaro Garcia Luna was charged with taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

President Lopez Obrador wants to protect the military’s reputation.

Lopez Obrador also said he hopes that the armed forces aren’t blamed for this scandal and that Mexico must take care of institutions as important as the Secretary of National Defense. Mexico does not currently have an ongoing investigation of the retired general and will await the result of the U.S. investigation, according to the president of Mexico. 

Cienfuegos Zepedas is due to make a court appearance related to four charges in California on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

READ: This Is What Mexico’s AMLO Wants From The Pope For The Churches Crimes Against Indigenous Mexicans

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