‘It’s Not a Wall,’ but Steel Slats and Barbed Wire Roil a Border Town

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CALEXICO, Calif. — The barbed wire overhead evokes danger and violence, but Maritza Hurtado cannot take it seriously. When the sharp coils were placed on top of the old border fence several months ago, running right along the main boulevard, she chalked it up to political propaganda from a White House that does not understand life along the Southwest frontier.

“This is not a war zone,” Ms. Hurtado said from her tax and immigration consulting office in downtown Calexico, from which she can peer into Mexico. “I’ve had a business here for 30 years and we’ve never needed the barbed wire. Why now? To me, it feels as if I’m enclosed.”

For nearly a year, President Trump has pointed with pride to a renovation project replacing two miles of border fencing in Calexico. He hailed it as “the start of our Southern Border WALL!” — to the great consternation of many of the town’s residents, who are wary of becoming the public face of a hard-line immigration policy that most here do not agree with. The attention the president’s tweet brought was surreal, in part because the construction replaced an unsightly stretch of steel fencing that was already there.

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Trump Laid Out Evidence That a Wall Is Needed. We Took a Hard Look.

Trump Repeats Unfounded Arguments in New Appeal for a Border Wall

Border Wall Is Out of Sync With the Southwest’s Changing Politics

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