Trump Supporters Wave Flags at the Border
By Marielena Castellanos
Pro-Trump flags waved in the air, while a group of people held “America First” signs, and chanted, “Build a wall, nice and tall, keep them out, keep America safe,” as part of a rally on a bridge at the San Ysidro border in support of President Trump, a border wall, the Border Patrol, and, American troops at the border.
The rally was the second of two held last weekend and came just over three weeks after a tense moment at the border when officials shut down the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
In what had not been seen before along the San Diego/Tijuana border, U.S. authorities used tear gas on migrants in Tijuana after a peaceful demonstration went off course when a group of migrants tried to enter the U.S. border illegally.
Thousands of men, women, and children, many of whom walked all the way from mostly Central American countries as part of a caravan to escape violence and poverty, remain in Tijuana hopeful their asylum claims will give them a chance at a better life in the U.S.
Melinda Oporto, a San Diego resident and member of America First and San Diego Patriots organized the rally. She said she films the caravan every day, and she was in San Ysidro the day of the border shutdown. Oporto said she was attacked by Americans who threw rocks at her when she made comments in support of U.S. authorities.
“I planned this rally because I want people to stand up. I want President Trump to see he has people standing behind him,” Oporto said.
Regarding the day of the border shutdown, Oporto said, “It was scary. That day I felt like we were in a war zone. It didn’t feel good. It’s not something I think Americans can relate to. This happens in other countries. It’s not supposed to happen here. It wasn’t a good feeling that day. I had a little terror in my heart that day,” but she added she doesn’t believe the fences along the border do anything to stop people from coming into the U.S., and she supports the construction of a border wall.
The United Nations reported Felipe Gonzalez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants recently called on states not to sacrifice human rights for security concerns. He also said, “The caravan is just one example of a phenomenon taking place in many regions of the world.”
Eliav Gonzalez also attended the rally. Gonzalez, who speaks perfect Spanish, is a U.S. citizen whose ancestry is from Mexico. He said he is proud of his Mexican roots and attended the rally to show support for the country of his birth, the United States, and to show support for President Trump.
Gonzalez said he believes there are migrants with the caravan that have valid asylum claims, but he also believes in the militarization of the border.
“Very few people are going to make an attempt to cross if they know that their lives are going to be in danger to cross to be on American soil. They are going to think twice. So I am in favor if the border is militarized, in favor that there are more border agents and more police,” Gonzalez said.
Although helicopters were not flying in the air on the day of the rally in San Ysidro and thousands of troops have been sent home from the border for the holidays, President Trump has continued his call for a border wall.
In a televised heated exchange two weeks ago between President Trump and Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Trump said he would be “proud,” to shut the government down if that is what it takes to get Congress to approve $5 billion to build the wall. Members in both the Republican party and the Democratic party are resisting the move.
Schumer and Pelosi do support $1.67 billion for border security enhancements, but not for a border wall.
A report from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from last year stated that CBP recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record, as measured by apprehensions along the border and inadmissible encounters at U.S. ports of entry.
In June of this year Forbes magazine reported this year that illegal cross-border migration is only about 11 percent higher than at the same point last year, and the administration said last year was the “lowest level” on record.