U.S.-Mexico border: Resident doesn't see the crisis that Trump describes
By Toby Muse
After U.S. President Donald Trump described the border between Mexico and the U.S. as the scene of a humanitarian crisis, those on the American side asked themselves: Crisis? What crisis?
At the border crossing that connects El Paso, in the U.S. state of Texas, with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, life seemed remarkably crisis-free Wednesday.
Tens of thousands of commuters crossed the border, as they have done for generations. People here lead split lives, with some living in Mexico but working in the United States. Trump is demanding more than five billion U.S. dollars from Congress to build a wall – a wall that he once said Mexico would build or pay for.
Irma Pinon doesn't agree with Trump over the border being in crisis, but she does support his plan for a wall.
Her main reason: she hopes it will decrease drug trafficking into the U.S. and human trafficking.
Mexican traffickers are paid thousands of U.S. dollars to bring men, women and children into the U.S., and often abuse them horrifically during the journey.
"Because I do think that a lot of drugs come through there. A lot of smuggling, a lot of stealing children. Women are getting raped. I believe in that very much because they [come] a long way," she said, taking her grandchild out for a walk near the border.
However, she disagreed with the president's decision to partially shut down the federal government.
Trump is arguing that a wall is needed along the border to stop drugs and illegal immigration.
Illegal border crossings are way down from the year 2000, when nearly 1.6 million people entered the United States. Last year, 400,000 people crossed illegally, a figure Trump and his supporters say is still far too high.
Drugs can certainly be carried through the deserts in small amounts. The vast majority of illegal drugs pass through – undetected – the official border crossings.
In order to move large amounts of cocaine and heroin, you need the infrastructure of highways, not the footpaths of the desert.
The crucial fact, however, is that Trump has been warned by the loudest votes in conservatism that if he can't deliver a wall, he may not be able to count on their votes in the 2020 election.