Trump visits Calexico to show off a piece of border wall

The Calexico border wall. Photo credit: Max Rivlin-Nadler

Before President Trump comes to Los Angeles on a fundraising trip, he's stopping in the city of Calexico to see the US-Mexico border.

There, the president plans to commemorate what his press office has dubbed a “newly completed section of the promised border wall.” However, this stretch isn't really new.

When the president inspects this stretch of border, he’ll be looking at a thirty-foot high fence and a metal plaque, emblazoned with his name.

The sign declares this the first section of President Trump’s border wall.

The renovated fence was replacing Vietnam-era landing mats, basically steel panels, that had stood there before.

The project has been in the works for some time. Planning for this two-mile replacement section began under the Obama administration, but wasn't funded until Trump took office. In Tweets and speeches, Trump has promoted the project as the beginning of his border wall.

But Calexico, California has actually had some form of barrier along its border for decades according to City Manager David Dale.

"At least 45 years there’s been a fence there. Now they’ve obviously replaced the fence, it’s now higher and so now you can see through it, but the fence has been there for many, many years," said Dale.

The renovated fence is now slatted, the previous one wasn’t, and allows border patrol agents to see through it into Mexico.

On the other side is Mexicali, which shares a downtown with Calexico. The two cities are codependent, with thousands of people crossing both directions to work and live each day.

That’s our sister city in Mexicali so they’re like our brothers and sisters there and so we say it’s not a wall, it’s a fence," said Dale.

With the president’s on again off again threats to shut down the southern border completely, border-sharing cities like Calexico and Mexicali might become further divided, even more than they already are by a fence… or a wall.

Credits

Reporter:
Max Rivlin-Nadler