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Residents Of Texas Express Mixed Feelings, As U.S. President Donald Trump Threatens Of Border Closure

For years, American businesses have restructured their manufacturing so that many products are made on both sides of the border. Border closures could have far-reaching impacts on a wide range of businesses.

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Cargo trucks lineup to cross to the United States near the US-Mexico border at the Cordova-Americas International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on April 4, 2019. Pixabay

This week U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico or close its border with the United States entirely “if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop.”

The Trump administration has made strengthening border security a centerpiece of its domestic policy, even though public opinion polls show Americans are roughly split over substantially expanding a wall along the border.

In El Paso, Texas, a border town across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juárez, many residents also express mixed feelings about a border closure that would directly impact their lives more than those of most Americans.

Last year, 7 million pedestrians crossed the U.S. border at the El Paso international bridges to either work or study, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Vehicles with passengers reached the 22 million mark.

Vehicles from Mexico and the U.S. approach a border crossing in El Paso, Texas, April 1, 2019.
Vehicles from Mexico and the U.S. approach a border crossing in El Paso, Texas, April 1, 2019. VOA

Cars, classes and tourists

For graphic design student Paula Lopez, who goes to school in El Paso but lives in Ciudad Juarez, shutting down the pedestrian crossing could affect her education.

“If they close the border, I will have to miss my classes and I am allowed a maximum of five absences,” Lopez said.

Oscar Lira, an intensive care nurse at a medical center in El Paso, says a potential closure would affect people’s health and job security.

“In fact, the treatments would be worse for everyone,” Lira said, adding that a lot of health workers in El Paso live in Ciudad Juarez, which means if they can’t come to work, the extra services would fall to those on the U.S. side.

Even local Republican supporters of the president have expressed concerns. Adolpho Telles, El Paso County Republican Party chairman, was “very concerned” that even a partial closure of the border could hurt the Texas border town.

“People keep joking that we’re going to run out of avocados here in a couple weeks … but that’s not the important part. They [people living across the border] make wire harnesses, component parts for vehicles. They come over here. They ship them east, and then on the East Coast to use, to finish the manufacturing cycle,” Telles said.

Residents of Anapra, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, gather next to the border fence during a prayer with priests and bishops from Mexico and the United States on Feb. 26, 2019.
Residents of Anapra, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, gather next to the border fence during a prayer with priests and bishops from Mexico and the United States on Feb. 26, 2019. VOA

For years, American businesses have restructured their manufacturing so that many products are made on both sides of the border. Border closures could have far-reaching impacts on a wide range of businesses.

Roger Noriega of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based policy research group, said the president’s closure threat sows doubt among regional partners and businesses. And he says it remains unclear how it would work.

Also Read: Research Revels, Even Consuming Alcohol Once A Day Raises Risk of Heart Stroke

“If it were absolutely dire emergencies, conceivably, you could say that people can enter … [but] “you need people moving across that border for commercial reasons for tourism, really, in both directions,” Noriega said.

Telles, however, still agrees “there’s going to have to be some closures in certain areas.”

He notes U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are “stretched thin,” and that closures in certain areas could mean reassigning some officers “so they can get better control of the areas and control [of] the people that are trying to come across the border.” (VOA)

Next Story

U.S. President Donald Trump Vetoes Measure to End U..S Involvement in Yemen War

ump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure.

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Men inspect the site of an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, April 10, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

In a break with the president, Congress voted for the first time earlier this month to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try to stop U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict.

The veto — the second in Trump’s presidency — was expected. Congress lacks the votes to override him.

“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump wrote in explaining his veto.

Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival.

Many lawmakers also criticized the president for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States and had written critically about the kingdom. Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October and never came out. Intelligence agencies said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing.

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Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival. VOA

The U.S. provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country also has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

House approval of the resolution came earlier this month on a 247-175 vote. The Senate vote last month was 54-46.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted to end U.S. military assistance to the war, saying the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered “demands moral leadership.”

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. VOA

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill. McCaul said it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution and predicted it could disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 countries.

Also Read: Despite Tariff War With U.S, China’s Economic Growth is Steady

Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure. (VOA)