County Supervisors Officially Oppose Trump Wall Construction In Calexico
By Mario Conde
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors took a position at their Tuesday meeting against the possible construction of the border wall in Calexico.
The County Board placed an emergency item on the agenda to discuss the board’s position on the proposed border wall where the El Centro Border Patrol Sector is one of the areas considered to start of construction of the wall along with Tucson and El Paso.
On January 25, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. The executive orders called for the physical security of the southern border by taking appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to start awarding contracts next month as request for bids started on March 6 and will close on March 10. The wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take three years to construct according to estimates.
County Supervisor John Renison said they have reason to believe the wall will start in Calexico but not confirmed yet. County CEO Ralph Cordova spoke about the impact this wall construction will have on the New River Improvement Project and if the design of the wall will have an appropriate screening.
“We want the direction of the board to make sure any infrastructure project along the border that is not a detractor or take away funding for the second phase of the Land Port of Entry in Calexico,” Cordova said. “We need to make sure we get that money since it’s not only important for the County of Imperial but to the security of the United States.”
Supervisor Renison agreed that should their be an approach and said that if the Trump Administration is for efficiency and security they should give the funds for the new Port of Entry.
Supervisor Ray Castillo asked the board to send a strong letter and address it to Rep. Juan Vargas that they already have a wall and they need to look at other areas along the U.S.-Mexican border that don’t have fence and secure it.
“We already have a wall and a fence and enough security at our border and it works just fine,” Castillo said. “The government should not be taking money from our POE since the new port will bring more security to our area.”
Supervisor Luis Plancarte said they should send the letter to different agencies and representatives to help the county message get across.
Supervisor Ryan Kelley added that there will be jurisdictions that will be opposing the wall and does not believe a wall will have an impact on illegal immigration. Rather than sending a letter opposing the wall, Kelley suggested send their letter focusing on the direction of the board of wanting to see improvement on the port of entry instead of going in direct contrast in what the Trump Administration is proposing.
“It will catch more eyes if you are focusing on what our needs are rather than where they are wrong in their assessments,” Kelley said.