Trump's Border Visit Will Highlight Pitch for Wall, More Agents

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump will visit the border city of Yuma, Ariz., this afternoon to highlight demands for a border wall and more agents to secure the border and speed up deportations.Administration officials won't say if he'll clarify how much border barrier he demands. During the campaign, he thrilled crowds with a vow to build a wall and to force Mexico to pay for it.He has since downplayed any effort to wrest payment from Mexico, conceding that any funding will come from U.S. taxpayers for the foreseeable future. A transcript of his conversation with Mexico's president a week after taking office showed that Trump dramatically backpedaled from that unrealistic demand for payment.That embarrassing revelation earlier this month puts a fresh burden on Trump to clarify his plans for a border wall. His rally tonight in Phoenix will provide a platform for that, and for Trump to rail against illegal immigration.Speculation has swirled that he will announce a pardon for the former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who sparked controversy for years with round-ups and harassment of immigrants. Such a pardon would endear him to immigration hard-liners, while inflaming immigrant advocates who had long vilified Arpaio.Trump said earlier this month that he's seriously considering a pardon for Arpaio, who faces sentencing in October on one federal charge for contempt of court, a misdemeanor. The charge stems from his defiance of an order to end the use of racial profiling that targeted Latinos for traffic stops. The nature of Arpaio's crime would ensure that a pardon alienates Hispanics, many of them already mistrustful of a president who opened his campaign by accusing Mexico of sending murderers and rapists into the United States and later disparages a Mexican-American judge. In Yuma, Trump will inspect Customs and Border Protection equipment, including a Predator drone and Black Hawk helicopter. The White House issued a fact sheet ahead of the visit touting his efforts."To jumpstart construction on the border wall, President Trump ordered DHS to use $20 million of unspent appropriations in its account for border security, fencing, and infrastructure," the sheet says.But a wall as extensive as Trump has promised would cost at least $15 billion, perhaps much more.This will mark Trump's first visit to the border since a June 2015 stop in Texas.As a candidate, he went to Laredo wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap and declared that he was braving great personal danger -- despite the city's low crime rate -- in order to highlight the need for tighter security and controls on illegal immigration.  Continue reading...

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