President Trump will give a prime-time address Tuesday evening to make his case that Congress should provide funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump’s Oval Office address comes on the 18th day of the government shutdown, which has incapacitated federal agencies and departments from the IRS to the National Parks to the food stamp program.
Trump will follow up his Oval Office address by visiting the US-Mexico border town of McAllen, Texas, on Thursday. There, Trump will have to confront one of the biggest challenges in building support for his wall: The people who live on the border say there is no national emergency and they don’t want a wall.
McAllen’s Mayor Jim Darling deals with the daily realities of immigration on one of Texas’s busiest border-crossing areas. Darling told the Texas Standard that while the media is hyper-focused on undocumented immigrants, the people he sees at respite centers are coming into the country legally to seek asylum.
Darling could hardly disagree more with President Trump over the idea that his town is experiencing a crisis or “national emergency.” In fact, last year Darling called McAllen “the overall safest city in Texas and one of the safest in the US.”
Moreover Mayor Darling points out that nearly 40 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue — the second highest in the state — comes from shoppers from Mexico, who cross the border peaceably and contribute to the local economy.
Mayor Darling is in favor of border security and says Washington should get behind “immigration reform,” but he argues that Trump’s border wall is useless since the Rio Grande acts as a natural border. “We know where our border is and we have one,” Darling says. “A wall is really not the effective way to protect our border.”
Darling argues that wall construction would significantly damage the sensitive ecology and private property of residents. Darling also believes environmental impact reports shouldn’t be waived…