WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump visited border patrol facilities near the frontier with Mexico in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.
The trip Tuesday to Yuma came as Trump has struggled to obtain congressional approval to fund his long-promised additions to the border wall, which already exists in some parts of the U.S. Southwest.
While in Yuma, he toured a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility to see equipment used for surveillance and detection of border crossings, and held a closed-door briefing with local staff.
Early Tuesday, officials from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border protection and immigration enforcement, highlighted Yuma’s success in reducing the number of crossings in recent years.
But fencing and walls are not enough, one DHS official said hours before Trump’s planned visit.
Like DHS colleagues who have testified before Congress, he pointed to the need for improved technology, intelligence and infrastructure, such as roads to access parts of the border, as well as additional agents, to bolster border security.
The president and his administration have, since January, pushed for aggressive changes to the country’s immigration and deportation system, some more successful than others.
The proposed border wall, aimed at preventing illegal immigration to the United States, was one of Trump's major 2016 campaign promises. His vow that Mexico would pay for the wall, which the Mexican government has insisted it will not do, has strained relations between the two neighbors.
Trump has since said he will find a way for Mexico to repay the United States for construction of the wall, but Congress would need to fund it first.
The government remains in the prototype stage for additional sections of the border wall, a process that began after Trump issued two executive orders related to immigration and enforcement in January.
Trump was joined in Yuma by immigration officials from his administration, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who until recently was DHS secretary, as well as by Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan, and Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
Some material for this article came from Reuters.