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A waste of money? Trump’s border not big in Arizona

Republican US presidential candidate Trump

A poll of Americans living in the state of Arizona has found that almost half believe Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico would be a waste of money and one third believe it would be effective.

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed that in the state heavily affected by illegal immigration, 47 per cent thought it was a waste of money compared to 34 per cent who thought it would be an effective barrier.

His rival Hillary Clinton, who has criticised Trump on many occasions over the wall issue, admitted during a Q&A in late 2015 at a town hall event that she had voted numerous times for a barrier.

Clinton was asked: “Hi Secretary Clinton, I was wondering what you think about my securing the Mexican border with some of the illegal immigrants that come in — just wondering.”

“Well look,” Clinton said, “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.”

When Trump confronted her on this at the last debate she responded; “I voted for border security; there are some limited places where that was appropriate”, adding that her “plan of course includes border security.” At the same time she did not advocate deporting the 11 million or so illegals currently in the US.

In recently-leaked speeches she gave to bankers behind closed doors, Clinton had said: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”

Quizzed on this during the debate by the moderator, she responded that she was referring to open borders on energy.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, asked if a wall would be “an effective barrier or a waste of money,” 47 percent of Arizona residents picked “waste of money” and 34 percent picked “effective barrier”, with the rest picking neither, according to the poll. Among Republicans, 21 percent picked “waste of money” and 57 percent picked “effective barrier.”

Most Arizonans also believed it is not realistic to expect Mexico to pay for the wall, something Trump has vowed would happen if he’s elected president on Nov. 8, according to the poll.

The results lined up closely with nationwide opinions of Trump’s immigration policy: 49 percent of American adults say the wall would be a “waste of money” and 31 percent say it would be an “effective barrier.”

“As big and powerful, as rich as this nation is, we cannot just leave the door open,” said Tony Estrada, Santa Cruz County Sheriff, who has served in law enforcement in the border county for 49 years. “But, we need a realistic and humane process. Donald Trump is catering to people’s fear.”

Polls show Arizona, a state that has voted Democrat only once in a presidential election since 1952, has become competitive. The Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Clinton ahead there by 1.3 percentage points. Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Trump ahead there by 4 points.

According to Reuters, Arizona’s border with Mexico is 370 miles long, covering an isolated desert terrain that has drawn millions seeking to cross illegally. The state’s number of undocumented immigrants has fallen 35 percent from a 2007 peak to 325,000, according to the Pew Research Center, as Arizona cracked down on that population. Nationwide, the number has dropped 9 percent from a high in 2007 to 11.1 million undocumented immigrants.

Wendy Cornacchio, a 45 year-old Trump supporter from Phoenix, said she believes illegal immigration is still a problem – but she would rather see technologies like drone surveillance than Trump’s wall to address it. “I don’t think that necessarily building a wall will work, but the concept of closing the borders I agree with,” she said.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and Spanish in Arizona and Florida. The Arizona poll ran from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19 and gathered responses from 2,600 people. The polls has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the total group and 3 percentage points for likely voters.

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