Trump to visit Rio Grande Valley on Thursday to push for border wall

Some RGV leaders, activists say Valley is safe, wall not needed

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the nation in his first prime-time address from the Oval Office of the White House on Jan.8, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images)

MCALLEN, Texas – President Donald Trump will travel to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday to make the case for his $5.7 billion steel wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

But a wall is not needed, some local leaders and activists said.

"We are living in one of the safest areas in the country," said former Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia. "We do not believe what we need is a wall. It doesn't work. It's an expensive item. It sends the wrong message."

Activist Mario Saenz said he believes Trump's comments about "a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border" has a negative effect on McAllen, the city that Trump will visit.

"It (Trump's speech) was nothing but lies. Lies that he's instilling (in) the people. Fear and hatred. He's creating a situation that does not exist in the Valley," Saenz said.

Trump has expressed his own doubts that his appearance Thursday and remarks Tuesday night will change any minds.

The president stalked out of his negotiating meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday -- "I said bye-bye," he tweeted soon after -- as efforts to end the 19-day partial government shutdown fell into deeper disarray over his demand for the wall. 

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers Friday with no paychecks.

KSAT 12 News reporter Tiffany Huertas is in McAllen to cover Trump's visit. Watch for her reports on Thursday.

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