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Trump Plans Visit To Rio Grande Valley And Border Wall On Tuesday

President Trump tours a section of the southern border wall in 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif.
Evan Vucci
President Trump tours a section of the southern border wall in 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif.

President Donald Trump will visit the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday, only days before the end of his presidency.

South Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar explained to TPR on Saturday that he confirmed the visit with the Federal Aviation Administration and people on ground from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Hidalgo County Democrat said Trump was expected to arrive at Harlingen’s airport and travel to a nearby area to showcase border wall construction.

"I guess in his mind this is the priority, but right now, during a pandemic, he’s got the wrong priority," Cuellar said. "The priorities should be fighting the pandemic, healing the country from what happened last week, but as you can tell, he’s been obsessed with the border wall these last four years."

TV station KVEO and the Progress Times first reported the plans for the trip.

It would be Trump's second trip to the area. He first traveled to the area in 2019 to tour the U.S.–Mexico border.

Residents and advocates in the region told TPR they feared the visit could bring more violence, only days after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Roberto Lopez, community outreach coordinator for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said he remembered tensions flaring among the hundreds of protestors and supporters during Trump's first visit.

“I feel like the tensions have quadrupled since then," he said. "I feel like it’s kind of like a time bomb. … I really hope that local [elected officials] here are going to be calling for this cancellation because this is the last thing we need as a community right now.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project, which has worked with landowners against Trump’s border wall, called for local governments to take an aggressive stance against wall construction.

Cuellar said that while Trump visits the Valley, members of Congress may be called to Washington D.C. to vote on the president's second impeachment.

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María Méndez reports for Texas Public Radio from the border city of Laredo where she covers business issues from an area that is now the nation’s top trade hub. She knows Texas well. Méndez has reported on the state’s diverse communities and tumultuous politics through internships at the Austin American-Statesman, The Texas Tribune and The Dallas Morning News. She also participated in NPR’s Next Generation Radio program while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. At UT, she wrote for The Daily Texan and helped launch diversity initiatives, including two collaborative series on undocumented and first-generation college students. One of her stories for these series won an award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She spent the last year reporting for The Dallas Morning News as a summer breaking news intern and then as a fellow in the paper’s capital bureau in Austin. She is a native of Guanajuato in Central Mexico.
Camille Phillips covers education for Texas Public Radio.