GALLERY: Hundreds turn out to welcome, protest Trump in first visit to Rio Grande Valley

In deeply blue Hidalgo County, where home is in southern Texas right across the border from Reynosa, Mexico, hundreds turned out to both support and protest President Donald Trump and his border fortification proposals during his first visit to the Rio Grande Valley since he took office.

Trump was only in town for a few hours on Thursday, January 10, during which time he met with local Border Patrol officials and leaders as a large portion of the community made their voices heard.

 

Even supporters of the president’s policy were surprised at the turnout on their side of the debate. Despite the heated issue at the center, the dueling rallies for the most part remained respectful of one another, despite the occasional verbal sparring matches.

 

One Trump protester said he used to live in a Trump building in New York City in the ’80s before moving to the valley. Like many on his side, he isn’t opposed to heightened border security, but doesn’t see a wall as making any difference.

The Trump administration has estimated that his wall project would cost $5.7 billion. Many residents here said the money would be better served elsewhere, adding there isn’t a crisis at the border as the president has claimed in recent days.

But supporters say the crisis has in fact been unfolding for years, and they’re fed up with migrants from central and south America illegally making their way into the U.S. Stretches of the border here have steel slats and bollards, along with the Rio Grande. Trump’s proposal calls for an even taller border wall, potentially made out of concrete.

All photos taken by David Lynch. Follow him on Instagram at @alexlynch695

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