President Trump said Tuesday morning that the border wall has helped cut the flow of illegal immigration to “just about a record-breaking low,” as he prepared to jet off to Yuma, Arizona, to mark more than 200 miles of construction since the start of his administration.
“We’re celebrating — we have over 200 miles of wall built,” the president said before boarding the presidential helicopter at the White House.
His trip will take him to San Luis, a border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico near where the Colorado River flows between the countries.
Yuma has seen 26 miles of old fencing replaced with the new border wall design.
Border-wide, Customs and Border Protection says of the 1,954-mile border, 657 miles are now protected by a barrier — three more than when Mr. Trump took office.
But the wall that now stands along much of that is a major improvement over the old designs built during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, which Homeland Security officials says justifies calling it “new” wall.
Mr. Trump on Tuesday credited the wall with cutting the flow of illegal immigrants from last year’s record-shattering family surge to the lowest numbers in a generation as of April.
“The wall has helped,” he said.
Border officials say the wall is part of it, but give more credit to the president’s diplomacy with Latin American countries, which roped those nations into doing more to block people from crossing their territory en route to the U.S.
And changes in U.S. policy have sped up deportations of new border crossers, removing some of the incentives for illegal immigrants to make the journey in the first place.
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