Relief in Calexico after President Trump announces he's not shutting down border

CALEXICO, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Calexico nestles the Mexican border about 120 miles east of San Diego. Its population is approximately 40,000 residents.

But around lunchtime, it's estimated that close to 90 percent of the people walking the streets, shopping in the stores or eating in the restaurants cross the border from Mexicali.

So, news that the border won't be shut down -- at least not for another year -- was welcomed by many residents on both sides of the barrier.

"It's really important for them," said Angela Martinez, who works at a clothing store in Calexico. "People come here to buy their stuff and help their families."

Even people who live far away from this border are relieved. People like Bob Weaver from Rancho Cucamonga, who was planning to cross the border to conduct business.

"There is a lot of business we do that's not only profitable to Mexico, but to the United States, too," said Weaver. "We need to look at the whole picture."

During remarks made from the White House, President Donald Trump said he will wait an additional year before considering shutting down the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

"The only thing better than, but less drastic than closing the border, is to tariff the cars coming in, and I will do it, you know I'll do it," the president said. "And if that doesn't stop the drugs, we close the border."

The news came the day before Trump planned a visit to Calexico to view a recently completed stretch of replacement barrier. The wall - or fence - is made up of 30-foot tall bollards, placed closely enough to restrict entry, but still allowing people to see through.

The new barrier sits just a few blocks away from Calexico City Hall, where a monument dedicated to the friendship of Calexico and Mexicali was built.

The monument is built from one of the old pieces of wall, about 1/3 the height of the newer model.

"It's a piece of landing mat from the Vietnam War," said Calexico City Manager David Dale, describing the materials used for the old wall.

As for the new 2.5-mile stretch of replacement barrier completed in October 2018, Dale said the reaction in the community is mixed.

"Not a good reaction. Not a bad reaction."
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