Trump signs order to begin building border wall
McALLEN — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to move forward with the construction of a border wall, something officials say he does not have the money to build.
Last month Trump’s transition team had already begun surveying the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector for places where the wall could be built, according to Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), who has fought the wall before and won.
“He can’t order the building of a wall, that’s something that congress has to fund,” Cuellar said. “He’s not a king, he’s a president.”
He said the President would have to tap into funds such as the Department of Homeland Security appropriations, but it has to come through congress one way or another.
Cuellar, who fought the wall under the George W. Bush administration and is the only border congressman who doesn’t have a fence in his district, said despite many Democrat’s opposition he believes Republicans will most likely back the President’s executive order.
“A wall, a fence is a 14th century solution to a 21st century problem,” he added. “We saw what happened to the Great Wall of China, we saw what happened to the Berlin Wall, we saw it with the French and the Germans during World War I, so we know the history of this 14th century solution.”
The RGV sector encompasses 320 river miles, 250 coastal miles, and 19 counties equating to more than 17,000 square miles. Since 2013 it has been the busiest area in the U.S. for illegal immigration with more than 1 million reported apprehensions by border patrol since 2010.
Across the entire southwest border more than 2.8 million people have been apprehended in the same time span. Last fiscal year (October 2015 to September 2016) border patrol reported 408,870 total apprehensions and 331,333 the previous fiscal year, numbers which have not been seen since the early 1970s.
During one of his final interviews last week as head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Gil Kerlikowske told ABC news that building a wall would be a waste of time and money. Kerlikowske said that supporters of the wall are missing the real issue when it comes to the immigration inflows that they are concerned about.
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