ACLU condemns Trump visit to border wall; CBP praises administration’s efforts

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Authorities pass a border wall construction site, in Mission, Texas, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. President-elect Joe Biden will face immediate pressure to fulfill his pledge to stop border wall construction. But he will confront a series of tough choices left behind by President Donald Trump, who’s ramped up construction in his final weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — President Donald Trump’s visit to South Texas on Tuesday to visit the border wall has sparked controversy among constituents, politicians and advocacy groups along the border. 

“Trump’s border visit is an unsurprising end for a president who began his political career dehumanizing immigrants. Unfortunately, while his presidency will end by next week, the ruthless border and immigration policies he enacted threaten to become his enduring legacy,” said Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies for the ACLU. 

The president’s visit comes on the heels of Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s resignation on Monday. Wolf is the third cabinet member to resign following last week’s siege on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump protestors seeking to block certification of the electoral votes. 

CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan briefed the media last week on the border wall progress made under the Trump administration.

“The wall — as part of a multi-layer border-enforcement strategy — does yield results. Period,” he said. “Anyone who says infrastructure is not effective is misinformed, misguided or has a hidden agenda.” 

Immigration advocates argue the immigration system as a whole cannot support the volume of migrants seeking asylum and other forms of legal immigration.

“The Trump administration has wreaked havoc on border communities and the ability of people to seek refuge over the past four years,” said Astrid Dominguez, director of the ACLU Texas’ Border Rights Center. “Trump brought our asylum system to a halt, separated children from their parents, destroyed protected lands to further border wall construction and emboldened CBP agents to operate with impunity.”

Opponents are critical of the results of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, such as family separations. 

“In just the past two years, at least seven children died in CBP custody or shortly after being released. At Border Patrol stations, kids went days without enough food or toothbrushes and people endured freezing temperatures and filthy cells, held virtually incommunicado for days,” said Blazer. 

“Border Patrol agents subjected pregnant people to physical mistreatment, verbal abuse and severe delays in medical care; one woman was forced to give birth to her baby while standing up, holding on to the side of a trash can in a Border Patrol station,” he continued. 

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar weighed in on Trump’s visit to Texas.

“Like a criminal who returns to the scene of a crime, he simply cannot help but gloat about stealing military funding to build an ineffective wall; separating thousands of children, traumatizing an entire generation of families; and violating U.S. and international practices and laws intended to protect vulnerable migrants. His abhorrent policies only served to make America less safe,” she said.

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