Impact of Trump’s wall already felt on Mexican side

11 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

CIUDAD JUÁREZ: Ten-year-old Victor shimmies up the hulking steel fence at the edge of his backyard, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and gazes out at the forbidden land on the other side: the United States, reports AFP.

If President Donald Trump gets his way, the towering brown barrier, which stands 5.5 meters (18 feet) tall, will be just the beginning of a wall that runs the length of the more than 3,000-kilometer (2,000-mile) border.

As Trump heads to the boundary on Thursday to continue pushing for the wall during a bitter political battle that has partially shut the US government, residents of Ciudad Juarez say they can already feel the project’s impact on their lives, even though it has barely begun.

For some, it means waking up two hours earlier to get to work or school across the border, where increased security under Trump has led to traffic jams and long lines at rush hour. 

For others, it means preparing for the reality that Mexico’s border cities will have to host swelling numbers of backlogged migrants unable to reach the United States to request asylum.

For Victor, who lives in the poor neighborhood of Anapra on the city’s outskirts, it means losing his once-unbroken view of the vast expanse of empty America stretching out from his backyard, but also gaining a makeshift jungle gym that doubles as a goal when he and his friends play football.

The spry boy and his friends hold races to see who can climb the fence’s long steel slats the fastest, and he has charmed the US Border Patrol agents who police the other side.

“The ‘migras’ are my friends. Sometimes they give me money. They give me a dollar,” he says.