Local immigration experts, others react to Trump's border wall plan

Local impact of Trump's immigration plan

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - President Donald Trump touted actions he has taken since taking office as he spoke to fellow Republicans at a retreat in Philadelphia Thursday.

"Ordering the immediate construction of the border wall, putting an end to catch and release, expediting the removal of criminals. A lack of security poses a substantial threat to the sovereignty and safety of the United States of America and its citizens," he said.

She said a comprehensive immigration policy is needed.

"The border wall is a waste of time, it's a waste of money, people have said it many times before.  You build a 20 foot wall and someone would build a 21 foot ladder, not to mention tunnels, whatever, it's pure show for him to do this," said Susan Weishar, a migration expert at the Jesuit Research Institute at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Mere hours after Trump sent out a tweet stating that if Mexico is unwilling to pay for the border wall it would be better to cancel the planned meeting with Mexico's president.

Mexico's president did not take long to take him up on his offer.

"The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different route," Trump said.

Still, the president insists that Mexico will ultimately pay for the wall. He also acknowledged during an interview this week that the U.S. may initially foot the bill and get Mexico to reimburse the costs.

"We haven't yet seen how he plans to pay for those expenditures. Republicans in Congress have been against deficit spending, but now will they allow it now that the White House is occupied by a Republican," said Mike Sherman, FOX 8 political analyst.

Weishar said data suggests that illegal immigration is actually declining in the U.S.

"The undocumented population in the United States has been dropping steadily since the year 2000, that year 1.6 million entered without papers, last year it's like at 450,000," she said.

Trump also wants to cut off federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities.

New Orleans said it is not a sanctuary city. Under the federal consent decree under which the NOPD operates unbiased policing is mandated and officers are not supposed to question individuals they encounter about their immigration status.

"If the president wants to change those policies he would have to take the Dept of Justice would need to go to court and talk to the judge, okay," said Dr. Weishar.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said" "First and foremost, the city does now and will continue to follow federal laws, and we will continue to make sure that we arrest and convict violent criminals, regardless of their immigration status…..The NOPD's policy on immigration complies with federal law. The Department of Justice, the federal consent decree monitor and the federal judge overseeing the consent decree have approved the immigration policy and it has served us well."

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