Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—President Donald Trump traveled to the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday to highlight his campaign against illegal immigration and the completion of the border wall.
LIVE BLOG: President Trump arrives to the Rio Grande Valley
Trump made his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege, which came as lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
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Trump’s visit to the Rio Grande Valley comes as he spends the final days of his presidency facing the prospect of a second impeachment after some of his supporters rioted and stormed the U.S. Capitol.
“Free speech is under assault, like never before. The 25th amendment is at zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.” said President Trump. “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”
Last week, the President was banned from social media networks for inciting violence.
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Trump also highlighted his administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and the progress made on building a border wall across the length of the southern border.
“We have ended the immigration chaos and re-established American sovereignty,” Trump said. “Our most important reform was ending catch and release — not easy to do. This policy was exploited by vicious criminal organizations who understood the law.”
He also warned that reversing any of his administration’s immigration policies would result in a “tidal wave of immigrants.” and said the House of Representatives’ plans to impeach him a second time was a hoax and a witch hunt that is causing division and pain.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he’d halt construction of the border wall and take executive action where possible to reverse some of Trump’s restrictions on legal immigration and asylum seekers.
But, Biden and his aides have acknowledged the possibility of a new crisis at the border if they act too quickly.
Trump highlighted the border wall and added Tuesday’s event was meant to commemorate the building of 450 miles.
However, while the Trump Administration has built 450 border wall miles, less than 20 percent are in new areas, according to Customs and Border Protection.
One of Trump’s biggest campaign platforms was to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. While he initially stated one thousand miles would be built and later shrunk that number to 700 by 2017, his administration finally settled on the 450 to 500-mile goal by 2019 that was celebrated on Tuesday.
When Trump entered office, more than 650 miles of a border wall had been built by previous administrations. Constructing 450 miles would have been adequate to satisfy the initial one-thousand-mile goal from Trump.
However, the 450 miles of new border wall are not all new miles. Of the 452 border wall miles built under the Trump Administration, only about 80 have been constructed in areas where a barrier did not exist before, according to CBP.
Instead, most of the built wall is either double fencing or replacement wall in areas where a barrier already existed.
During his remark, Trump said “he won border towns” during the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
Results combined from border counties with border territory say the contrary; In Hidalgo County, Biden won with 58.04% of the votes, while Trump had 40.98%. In Cameron County, Biden won with 56.01%, Trump had 42.92%. Finally, in Starr County, Biden had 52.1%, and Trump had 47.1%.
Overall, Trump only won 38 percent of votes in the 15 counties on the Texas-Mexico border.
Over the last four years, Trump and his administration have taken action to curb both illegal and legal immigration.
“We’ve arrested nearly 5,000 illegal aliens with criminal records, some with very serious criminal records” said Trump.
CBP records show more than 5,000 people arrested at the border have been arrested with criminal records, including murder as he stated, since he took office.
Since the border wall went up in 2020, 7,564 people who were arrested by border patrol agents had criminal records. Since 2017, more than 100,000 people with criminal records have been caught by both CBP Officers and Border Patrol agents.
However, Trump mentioned his administration removed 20,000 gang members “Including 4,500 members of MS13, probably the worst gang of them all.”
Trump took office in 2016, since then to date, CBP has apprehended 3,467 known gang members, according to their data. 1,450 of them are MS-13.
“We had 27,000 Mexican soldiers guarding out borders over the last two years, nobody though that was possible” said Trump.
According to Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, nearly 15,000 troops are deployed to the Mexico’s northern border, where the Mexican Government has set up 20 checkpoints.
At the southern border, 12,000 troops are deployed and have set up 21 checkpoints. However, the White House stands by Trump and says it is 27,000.
Under his administration, Trump was able to cut aide to three South American counties in an effort to stall the flow of illegal immigration to the United States.
His administration was also able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine shipment is happening throughout Texas.
Twenty-eight coronavirus vaccination hubs will receive most of the Texas’s next shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this week, with 158,825 doses shipping to providers able to manage large-scale efforts as more doses arrive in the state.
More than 877,000 Texans have received a COVID-19 vaccine since they first began arriving in Texas nearly four weeks ago, and that number is expected to increase by at least 50,000 more per day, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.
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Thousands of Texans have recovered from COVID-19 and thousand are still in hospitals. 22,110 Texans have contracted COVID-19 today, according to TDHHS website.
However, the U.S. has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world at 113.9 per 100,000 people. Mexico follows closely behind at 106 per 100,000 people.
Watch Tuesday’s remarks from President Trump here: