Border wall action met with mixed opinion in Las Vegas - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Border wall action met with mixed opinion in Las Vegas

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President Trump signed an executive action that will fast track the building of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. President Trump signed an executive action that will fast track the building of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

President Trump on Tuesday took the first step in making his promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico a reality.

His executive order directed federal money to construct the border wall. He vowed Mexico would eventually foot the bill for the wall.

However, late Wednesday, Mexico Pres. Enrique Peña Nieto expressed regret on a past backing of the wall. At the same time, he rejected the proposal and vowed not to pay for it.

In any event, the wall drew split opinion among people living in the Las Vegas Valley. For some, the president's actions were a long awaited step in keeping the nation safe. The wall, though, represents the loss of homes, family and country for others.

"I can't believe it," Trump supporter Robert Crooks said ecstatically. "This is the greatest day of my life."

Crooks, who is a retired Minutemen volunteer, spent a lot of time on the southern border trying to stop drug smugglers and illegal immigration.

"If they know, Central America, South America, that we have a wall built or in construction with surveillance, they're not coming," Crooks said.

On top of a bigger crackdown on illegal immigration, Crooks expressed excitement about the president hiring more border agents and immigration enforcement officers while taking money away from sanctuary cities.

Crooks, though, cautioned the effect the wall could create.

"From what he introduced today, it's definitely going to be more enforcement," Crooks observed. "He's claiming he's going to put more boots on the ground. I think they will drive eventually the communities underground, unfortunately." 

While Crooks applauded the president's action, undocumented citizens living in Las Vegas are lamenting the next few months. For the most part, the unpredictability of the president's actions is putting them in fear.

"He's putting a target on my back as individuals in the undocument community," said "Dreamer" Blanca Gamez. "We are being fearful about what's going to happen next."

On Wednesday, a progressive information session took place with many undocumented residents in attendance. All of them were concerned about what could happened to their friends and families.

Gamez' parents brought her to the U.S. when she was seven months old.

"The fear and the suspicion that people are going to have on us, saying, 'This person must be undocumented,'" Gamez said. "It just puts that fear back into our families" 

Leaders at the information session urged people not to give in to those fears but also advised them to stay informed.

As the nation waits for President Trump's future announcements, the wall has already divided neighbors in the Valley.

"This is a country of citizens for the Americans. We are Americans," Crooks said emphatically. "They aren't Americans. They're not citizens and they have to go home." 

"Just because I'm undocumented doesn't mean that I don't deserve to be in this country," Gamez said. "I have a say and I have something to say about it. And I am going to go out there and fight for my family and my community."

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