Residents of a Californian border town are laughing at President Donald Trump's warnings about safety at the southwestern border, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
That same town—El Centro, Calif.—enjoys the security of the tallest barrier along the entire 2,000 mile southwestern border, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Section Chief.
El Centro (pop. 44,000 as of 2017) is, according to the Times‘s reporting, unconcerned about what Trump has referred to as a "border crisis." As part of the paper's series of reports from border towns, reporter Jose A. Del Real visited D'Poly bar and restaurant, finding it charmingly multicultural.
"Located on El Centro's Main Street, D'Poly and its clientele embody the biculturalism of border towns across the Southwest," Del Real proudly reports, adding that "modern and minimalist, the restaurant's gray walls and dark wood floors could be the backdrop of an elegant Crate and Barrel photo shoot—save for an arresting pink mural of Frida Kahlo that instantly sets the room apart."
This idyllic picture jives with residents' apparent unconcern about crime or drug smuggling at the border. Locals to whom Del Real spoke were dismissive of Trump's State of the Union address, and said that while they were sympathetic to the need for border security, they were concerned about the president's "tone."
What Del Real only mentions in passing is that El Centro is located in the El Centro Border Sector, which covers 70 miles of the Mexican-American border. The city itself is just 11 miles north of Calexico, Calif., where a preexisting border barrier was recently refurbished and a large steel bollard section erected, part of what Trump has characterized as the first part of his border wall.
"Currently, this 30-foot wall is the tallest border wall deployed along the southwest border," El Centro Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez told NBC Los Angeles.
This is not the first time the Times has reported from a border town in a way that seems to cast doubt on the value of border enforcement. In January, the paper suggested there was no "border crisis" by reporting on residents of a single town of 1,600 in low-immigration New Mexico.
Meanwhile, a record number of children continue to flow across the border from Central America, including those who may be being smuggled in repeatedly by human traffickers. No resident commented on the family unit immigration crisis for the Times‘s reporting.