Monday 24 July 2017

Trump admits Mexico border wall will cover less than half of the 2,000-mile frontier

The Mexico-US border fence on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra in Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico (AP)
The Mexico-US border fence on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra in Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico (AP)

Tom Batchelor

Donald Trump has conceded his much-touted southern wall along the US-Mexican border may end up covering less than half of the 2,000-mile frontier.

The US President said natural barriers such as rivers and mountains meant a man-made structure along the entire length of the border was not necessary.

He also said that some areas were so remote that a wall would not be needed.

The finished project is unlikely to exceed 900 miles, he added.

Mr Trump’s comments, made on Air Force One as it flew from Washington to Paris, represent a significant row back on plans that became a central part of his election campaign.

He told reporters aboard the presidential jet: "You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office in Washington. Photo: AP
President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office in Washington. Photo: AP

“You have some areas that are so far away that you don't really have people crossing.

"But you'll need anywhere from 700 to 900 miles."

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He also said it was important that border agents and others should be able to see through the wall so they could be aware of oncoming dangers, suggesting whatever structure ends up being built would likely be closer to a slatted fence than a solid wall.

"As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them. They hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over," Mr Trump said.

One of the Republican billionaire’s major campaign promises was to build a border wall to fight illegal immigration.

His vow that Mexico would pay for the wall, which the Mexican government has insisted it will not do, has strained relations between the two neighbours.

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Mr Trump has since said he will find a way for Mexico to repay the US for construction of the wall, but that Congress would need to fund it first.

However, almost six months into his presidency, he has so far asked Congress for only $1.6bn (€1.4bn) for a project estimated to cost more than $20bn (€17.50bn).

The border, which stretches across four US states, already has 600 miles (965 km) of barriers, including fences and walls.

Independent News Service

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