ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - U.S. President Donald Trump is heading to the southwestern state of Arizona for a border wall inspection and to make a political speech.
Trump, on Tuesday, is to be joined in Yuma by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan to tour a new section of wall along the border with Mexico at San Luis in Yuma County.
The U.S. government says 338 kilometers of construction has been done along the border since January of 2017, but it appears that only 4.8 kilometers of it is in places where no barriers previously existed.
“The new wall is in many places twice as tall as where it was before, and many miles were built where nothing but vehicle barriers existed before, which few people would describe as a fence,” immigration policy analyst David Bier at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, told VOA. “Despite the improvements, the new fences are already being breached and climbed and immigrants are still going around. In fact, in 2019, the government stated the number of people evading detection at the border actually increased.”
In Yuma, Trump is also scheduled to host a roundtable discussion with elected officials and community leaders to discuss border security.
Yuma has become one of the nation’s hot spots for COVID-19 and reported number of cases in the state of Arizona has doubled in the past two weeks, according to health officials.
Trump is also to fly to Phoenix to deliver a campaign speech to more than 3,000 people, most with the group "Students for Trump," at a church.
The Dream City Church posted a video saying it had installed new “ionization” technology that “kills 99.9 percent of COVID within 10 minutes” and those attending the event with the president “will be safe and protected.”
There is no scientific evidence that such an air filtering device can prevent transmission between people in close quarters of respiratory particles containing the coronavirus.
Both Yuma County and the city of Phoenix have mandated the wearing of masks in public.
The event at the church “was not sanctioned or permitted by the City of Phoenix, as the city does not permit political events. Furthermore, it does not abide by current CDC guidelines during COVID-19,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “While I do not believe an event of this magnitude can be held safely, particularly as Arizona sees rising COVID cases, the President has decided to continue with this rally.”
Everyone attending the event, “particularly any elected official, should set an example to residents by wearing a mask. This includes the President,” said the mayor.
The president has faced criticism for hosting this past Saturday the largest indoor event in the country in months amid the pandemic, especially in Oklahoma where the number of coronavirus cases has been surging.
About 6,200 out of the 19,199 seats in the Bank of Oklahoma Center, according to the Tulsa Fire Department. The Trump re-election campaign claims attendance was about 12,000 people.