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'Our country is full' - Trump visits Mexico border and inspects new border fence

Trump has ratcheted up his hard-line immigration rhetoric in recent weeks.

President Donald Trump speaks as he visits a new section of the border wall.
President Donald Trump speaks as he visits a new section of the border wall.
Image: Jacquelyn Martin/PA Images

DECLARING “OUR COUNTRY is full,” President Donald Trump yesterday insisted the US immigration system was overburdened and illegal crossings must be stopped, as he inspected a refurbished section of fencing at the Mexican border.

Trump, making a renewed push for border security as a central campaign issue for his 2020 re-election, participated in a briefing on immigration and border security in Calexico before viewing a 3.2 km see-through steel-slat barrier that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier — and not new wall.

“There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” Trump said at the briefing, adding that there has been a sharp uptick in illegal crossings.

“It’s a colossal surge and it’s overwhelming our immigration system, and we can’t let that happen. … We can’t take you anymore. We can’t take you. Our country is full.”

As Air Force One touched down in the state, California and 19 other states that are suing Trump over his emergency declaration to build a border wall requested a court order to stop money from being diverted to fund the project.

But Trump, who ratcheted up his hard-line immigration rhetoric in recent weeks, declared that his move, which included vetoing a congressional vote, was necessary.

Also on Friday, House Democrats filed a lawsuit preventing Trump from spending more money than Congress has approved to erect barriers along the southwestern border. Congress approved just under $1.4 billion for work on border barricades.

Trump has asserted he can use his powers as chief executive to transfer an additional $6.7 billion to wall construction.

Source: FOX 10 Phoenix/YouTube

Trump, who earlier in the week threatened to shut down the border over the high numbers of migrants trying to enter the US, appeared to walk back his comments Thursday. He said Friday that it was because Mexico had gotten tougher in stopping an influx of immigrants from moving north.

“Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days,” the president said as he left the White House. “I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point.”

Trump, as he so often does, mixed fact with fiction when warning of the threat at the border. When complaining about the Flores legal settlement that governs treatment of migrant children and families, he blamed “Judge Flores, whoever you may be.” But Flores was an unaccompanied 15-year-old girl from El Salvador.

He also downplayed the claims of people seeking asylum at the border, declaring without evidence that many are gang members while comparing some of their efforts to find safety in the US to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

“It’s a scam, it’s a hoax,” Trump said. “I know about hoaxes. I just went through a hoax.”

UPI 20190405 A protest balloon at an anti-Trump rally during his visit. Source: PA Images

As the president showed off the renovated section of the barrier to reporters, a balloon depicting Trump as a baby floated further down the border.

Trump has been increasingly exasperated at his inability to halt the swelling number of migrants entering the US, including thousands who have been released after arriving because border officials have no space for them.

Arrests along the southern border have skyrocketed in recent months, and border agents were on track to make 100,000 arrests or denials of entry in March, a 12-year high. More than half of those are families with children, who require extra care.

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Associated Press

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