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Republican Party adopts Trump proposal to build Mexico border wall

The organization’s electoral platform is also advocating protectionism and opposition to abortion rights

The construction of a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States to contain illegal immigration, penalties for unlawful entry into the country, protective tariffs, staunch opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage... The Republican Party has taken another step toward supporting Donald Trump’s bid for the White House by including some of his more controversial and conservative immigration, social and economic proposals in the party’s official platform. Republicans will ratify these initiatives next week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio where they will officially nominate Trump as the GOP candidate for November’s presidential election.

Republican candidate Donald Trump at a campaign event in Indiana.
Republican candidate Donald Trump at a campaign event in Indiana. AFP

The platform is the final list of campaign promises a candidate and his party vow to fulfill if elected. The Republican platform committee held a two-day conference earlier this week in Cleveland where its 112 delegates debated the merits of the program that party members will vote on at the convention that begins Monday.

The electoral program is “an invitation and a road map” toward a “more prosperous and secure” America,” Senator John Barrasso, the panel’s chairman, said at the end of the conference. The platform shows the way “to make America great and united again,” he added in allusion to Trump’s oft-cited campaign slogan.

GOP leaders who once scoffed at Trump’s initiatives are now including them in the final draft of the party’s platform

A little more than a year ago, Trump jumped into the presidential race by stating that immigrants who crossed the border illegally from Mexico were basically “criminals, rapists” and drug dealers and that the United States must erect a wall at the southern border to staunch the flow of newcomers. Republican leaders were horrified, given that his language was expected to alienate a potentially decisive demographic. But a year later, Trump has beaten almost 12 rivals to become the surprise winner of the Republican primary race. Now GOP leaders who scoffed at his initiatives are including them in the final draft of the party’s platform, a document that will remain relevant beyond election day since it is meant to outline the direction of the candidate’s first term in office.

While platform delegates debated the high cost of building a 2,000-kilometer wall along the US-Mexican border, they did not discuss the feasibility of such a project, though experts say it is nearly impossible to accomplish. The panel swiftly endorsed and enhanced the measure by going beyond the initial proposal for the “construction of a physical barrier” at “vulnerable borders” and recommending a “border wall” that will cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

The draft platform also calls for up to five years of imprisonment for any deported immigrant who is caught re-entering the United States illegally.

The draft platform also calls for up to five years of imprisonment for any deported immigrant who is caught re-entering the United States illegally

The program highlights America’s “exceptionalism” as the party turns sharply toward protectionist measures, calling for “America first” in political and economic policies. Still, unlike Trump, the panel did not make any direct attacks on trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“A Republican president will insist on parity in trade and will stand willing to implement countervailing duties if other countries don't cooperate,” the platform draft proclaims. But panel members only asked that US officials “do not rush” TPP ratification, EFE reports.

The committee held a long discussion on abortion rights and gay marriage during its last session and most delegates agreed to adopt a strong opposition to both in the official platform.

As President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, participated in a ceremony in honor of five police officers who were killed in a demonstration in Dallas last week when a lone gunman ambushed the crowd, the GOP platform panel in Cleveland reaffirmed the party’s staunch opposition to restrictions on gun ownership.

English version by Dyane Jean François.

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