President Trump is bringing his campaign to sell the U.S. on a border wall to McAllen, Tx. Two days after proclaiming a humanitarian and security crisis, Trump will land in the heart of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest stretch of the border in recent years for illegal crossings, the Los Angeles Times reports. Many in the city of 140,000 are wondering what exactly the president will see. Perhaps Trump will visit the places near McAllen where new border barriers are being built. While Trump has been fighting for a border wall, plans for $1.4 billion in new border barriers already funded by Congress have quietly proceeded. The added barrier surrounding McAllen will rise atop an existing levee, which also crosses wildlife refuges, the National Butterfly Center, a cemetery and church properties. Construction on 14 miles of border fencing is scheduled to start next month.
McAllen resident David Garcia worries that the wall will damage wildlife and ecotourism. Garcia, 36, said Trump’s dire warnings of a crisis at the border are wrong. “It’s a total misconception,” he said. “We’re in the top lists of safest cities in the state.” He sees a largely Latino, moderate Democratic stronghold of quiet neighborhoods patrolled by state, local and federal forces. Trump will visit Border Patrol agents and perhaps the nearby migrant central processing center that families nicknamed “the dog kennel” because of cyclone fences surrounding their cells. Perhaps Trump will visit McAllen’s federal courthouse. Federal prosecutors and public defenders saw dockets swell last spring after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced a “zero tolerance” policy of charging migrants in federal criminal court with entering the country illegally. Court staffers are being paid but it’s not clear whether they will be next month if the federal government shutdown continues.