(Español) President Trump’s recent visit to the border at Calexico has flared the tensions regarding the immigration debate. The visit is to promote a section of the president’s wall his administration insists has been completed as a portion of the long promoted wall, although the fencing along the border has been there for decades. Recently the fencing has received a remodel to replace the solid paneling with slats so border agents can now see across the border into Mexico. The president’s visit has brought out fears from locals regarding his recent threats to close the southwestern border. At the southwest border, workers legally cross the border every day to go between work and home.
The workers described how the closing of the border would affect their everyday life. Many would no longer be able to cross the border to work at their agricultural job or would be forced to permanently relocate to Mexico to be with their families. Additionally, farm owners in Calexico would also greatly feel the impact of any border shutdown. Many rely on workers from across the border to be able to harvest and tend their crops, with many fearing the farms would not be able to survive any shutdown due to the lack of workers. Although most of the farmers see immigration reform as a necessity, nearly none agree they border shutdown or threats will truly affect anything.
Further stressing the pressures at the border, border patrol agents are being relocated from Calexico to handle the influx of migrants to other portions of the southern border, such as San Diego and El Paso. This has caused wait times of up to seven hours to cross into the United States. This has hurt businesses the rely on border crossers in Mexicali, as well as in Calexico. Despite the surge of migrants seeking asylum in the United States, and the administration’s attempt to change the rules for asylum seekers, Calexico has still not seen the surge other portions of the border have.