NATIONAL NEWS

‘Our Country Is Full’: Trump Says Migrants Straining System

Apr 5, 2019, 3:26 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:11 pm
President Donald Trump (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)...
President Donald Trump (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) — Eager to make border security a central campaign issue, President Donald Trump consulted with immigration agents in a California border city Friday while insisting that the nation’s immigration system was overburdened and declaring that “our country is full.”

The political battle over the border ignited again just as Air Force One touched down in Calexico, not far from Mexico, as California and 19 other states that are suing Trump over his declaration requested a court order to stop money from being diverted to fund the project. But Trump, who has placed hard-line immigration policy at the heart of his administration, declared that his move, which included vetoing a congressional vote and some opposition from his own party, was necessary.

“There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” Trump said at a border security briefing, adding that there has been a sharp uptick in illegal crossings. “It’s a colossal surge, and it’s overwhelming our immigration system. We can’t take you anymore. Our country is full.”

Although the wall — his signature campaign promise — remains unbuilt, Trump declared that at least 400 miles (650 kilometers) of the border barrier would be erected over the next two years even as he tried to blame Democrats for a lack of progress on the wall.

“The crisis is a direct result of the obstruction by Democrats,” the president claimed.

Trump also denied that he changed his mind about shutting down the border with Mexico, a threat he backed off on Thursday. Trump said he reversed course because he saw Mexico get 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.”

Though Trump, who has pulled a series of about-faces in recent days, walked away from his threat to close the border, he went ahead and highlighted the conditions at the boundary with Mexico. The fence that Trump is touring is a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) section that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier, rather than new wall. The White House says the barrier is marked with a plaque bearing Trump’s name and those of top homeland security officials.

The president’s visit came a day after he withdrew his nominee to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Longtime border official Ron Vitiello appeared to be cruising toward confirmation, but Trump said Friday that he wanted to go in a “tougher direction.”

Trump, who wants to return to illegal immigration as a key 2020 re-election issue, also took to Twitter earlier Friday to claim that he could revive his threat to shut the border, a move that fellow Republicans warned would have a devastating economic impact.

“If for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to Tariff at 25% all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,” Trump tweeted, before invoking the new but not-yet-approved trade policy. “This will supersede USMCA.”

As Trump landed in California, the state’s governor ripped the president’s push for Congress to pass legislation that would tighten asylum rules to make it harder for people to qualify.

“Since our founding, this country has been a place of refuge — a safe haven for people fleeing tyranny, oppression and violence. His words show a total disregard of the Constitution, our justice system, and what it means to be an American,” said Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

And the state’s attorney general, Democrat Xavier Becerra, said Friday that 20 states took action to prevent $1.6 billion from being siphoned away from fighting drug trafficking and funding military construction projects.

Trump, who was presented with a piece of the future border wall, traveled to the border with a number of congressional Republicans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was indicted last year on a litany of campaign finance violations and has since been stripped of committee assignments. Hunter still won re-election.

Trump has been increasingly exasperated at his inability to halt the swelling number of migrants entering the U.S., 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.

The southern border is nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) long and already has about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) of different types of barriers, including short vehicle barricades and tall steel fences that go up to 30 feet (9 meters) high. Most of the fencing was built during the administration of George W. Bush, and there have been updates and maintenance throughout other administrations.

Trump has yet to complete any new mileage of fencing or other barriers anywhere on the border. His administration has only replaced existing fencing, including the section he is touring Friday. Construction for that small chunk of fencing cost about $18 million, began in February 2018 and was completed in October. Plans to replace that fence date back to 2009, during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Administration officials had been studying ways to minimize the economic impact of a potential border closure in case Trump went through with his threat, including keeping trucking lanes open or closing only certain ports.

But even absent that extraordinary step, delays at border stations have been mounting after some 2,000 border officers were reassigned from checking vehicles to deal with migrant crowds.

Trump walked away from his border closure threat just days after he also abruptly postponed Republican efforts to work on a replacement for Obama’s health care law, commonly called “Obamacare.”

After the border visit, Trump was slated to travel to Los Angeles, where he was set to hold a pair of fundraisers in the deeply liberal city. He was then poised to travel to Las Vegas for another re-election fundraiser and an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is backed by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Four University of Idaho students were found dead Nov. 13 at this three-story home on King Road in ...
Veronica Miracle, Stella Chan and Jason Hanna, CNN

Investigators have quality leads in the killings of 4 students, police say

Investigators have "a lot of quality leads" about last month's killings of four University of Idaho students in an off-campus house police said.
18 hours ago
District of Columbia Police Chief Robert Contee looks on as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) passe...
MARY CLARE JALONICK, FARNOUSH AMIRI and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Jan. 6 ‘heroes’ honored for defending Capitol from Trump mob

Top House and Senate leaders have bestowed Congress' highest honor on law enforcement officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
18 hours ago
The U.S. flag flies at half staff over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC on May 12, 2022 ...
Madison Swenson

Gov. Cox orders flags lowered for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has ordered all flags be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday as part of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
18 hours ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2...
MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Trump Organization convicted in executive tax dodge scheme

Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud on Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney.
18 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
18 hours ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: In this photo illustration, three screens display the splash page for...
Associated Press

Facebook parent Meta threatens to remove news from platform

Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
‘Our Country Is Full’: Trump Says Migrants Straining System