Comments by Sanwar Ali:
Recent remarks today by Donald Trump about the border wall with Mexico made shortly after a meeting with the Mexican President have not been taken too seriously. While addressing anti-narcotics officials, President Trump claimed that the 250 miles of fencing put up since he took office had helped to prevent coronavirus spreading:
“It turned out to be very lucky for us that we had the wall or we would have been inundated because they have some big problems there [in Mexico].”
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico had actually thanked Trump for not mentioning the Border Wall in recent talks between the two Presidents.
The number of coronavirus COVID-19 cases actually exceeded 3 million recently in the US. So far there have been over 131,000 deaths in the US. Due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases some Southern US States want to reimpose lockdown. In addition, in reality only about three miles of additional border wall has been put up since Trump became President. The rest of the work on the wall was actually replacement of the existing wall. It has been suggested that the Border Wall has a limited effect in keeping out illegal migrants.
Donald Trump’s highly controversial, and racist’ US border wall is facing a fresh lawsuit from South Texan landowners who have described the barricade as an ‘attack on Mexican-Americans.’ The lawsuit, filed in Laredo by two landowners and authorities in Zappa County, which sits on the Texas-Mexico border, says the wall breaches constitutional protections.
The attorney representing landowners and Zappa County authorities, Carlos Flores, told the Texas Tribune: “The action of the government is based on animus toward a group, and that’s unconstitutional. You can’t make policy in governmental action based on animus toward a group”.
The lawsuit claims that Trump’s US immigration border wall will create ‘second class US citizens at the southern border.’
Landowners concerned about losing land due to Border Wall
Under Trump’s executive order number 13767, government officials are seizing land in Texas based on ‘racist and white nationalist motives,’ according to the lawsuit. Mr Flores said that forced land seizures violate the Fifth Amendment’s ‘due process’ clause, which provides equal protection under US laws.
The Fifth Amendment states: “No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Mr Flores said that the onus is on the Trump administration to prove that it has a “narrowly tailored compelling governmental interest” to justify constructing the border wall. Flores said that the only compelling interest is Trump’s re-election bid.
Flores claims that Trump is pressing on with border wall construction in Texas and other regions in an effort to boost his 2020 re-election bid based on promises he made in 2016 on his way to becoming US President. The business mogul turned leader of the free world has plummeted in the polls, falling behind Joe Biden.
According to a Texas Tribune report, the landowners named in the lawsuit include Laredoan Melissa Cigarroa and George C. Rincon. Cigarroa owns an interest in more than 170 acres of land in the Texas region.
Border Wall harmful to recreation and public safety
The lawsuit also claims that construction of the border wall will impact recreation and public safety. An excerpt from the complaint reads: “Fishing, hiking and recreation will all be affected. Zapata County’s fire, police and ambulance services will also be affected, as they may not be able to respond to emergencies on the river side of the wall.”
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Protection are effectively commandeering these local resources as part of their wall construction. This undermines political accountability,” the lawsuit added.
The latest challenge to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign pledged wall comes after Workpermit.com reported that the US President had overseen just three miles of new border wall being built since his time in office.
In 2017, an internal report by the DHS estimated that Trump’s wall would cost $21.6 billion and take 3.5 years to build. With the estimated deadline fast approaching, a recent report published by Newsweek claims that Trump will need to build the wall at a rate of more than one mile a day to hit the target outlined by the DHS.
Figures on how much Trump has spent on the wall so far, vary. At the start of the year, the current cost of the build so far was estimated to be $11 billion.
Trump request for military funds for wall rejected
In June, an appeals court threw out a Trump administration request to divert further military funds to build the wall. Meanwhile, in another setback for the US President’s barrier, construction engineers warned that a section of wall installed along the Rio Grande is in danger of collapsing into the river.
During a visit to a section of his wall in Arizona, Trump claimed that the barrier had ‘stopped the coronavirus.’
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