Newsletter: Today: The Cost of ‘Closing the Border’

A rancher drives along the border fence separating his property in Cochise County, Ariz., from Mexico.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

If President Trump follows through on his threat to shut the border with Mexico, experts say it could cause chaos and cost billions.


The Cost of ‘Closing the Border’

Will President Trump shut down the U.S. border with Mexico? That’s a question perhaps only the commander in chief can answer at this point, as tens of thousands of Central American migrants continue to jam legal entry points and unguarded remote areas. Though it’s unlikely Trump could close the entire 2,000-mile-long border, the president might shut some or all of the 47 official entry ports, which process more than 1 million people and about $1.7 billion in commerce every day. Experts say that means even a limited or temporary closure could cause substantial economic damage. It would also require Mexico’s cooperation, which is hardly assured. So far, normally outspoken Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been sidestepping his counterpart’s threats. Trump plans to travel to California on Friday for fundraisers in L.A. and a visit to the border at Calexico.


More Politics

-- A House committee plans to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize subpoenas for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report, underscoring how aggressively Democrats will pursue its release in a potential showdown with Atty. Gen. William P. Barr.

-- A White House whistleblower told lawmakers that more than two dozen denials for security clearances have been overturned during the Trump administration. She called Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed.

-- A massive emergency aid bill for victims of hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters was defeated in the Senate amid a fight between Democrats and Trump over relief for Puerto Rico.


A Rapper’s Death Hits Home

The killing was like so many others — a young man gunned down on a street— and came amid an uptick in violence in L.A.: 26 shootings and 10 homicides in the city since last Sunday. Because the victim was rapper Nipsey Hussle, the mourning transcended family and friends. It also led to more suffering when several people were injured at a vigil at the site of his death in South Los Angeles — the neighborhood Hussle was investing in. Police said late Monday they had identified a 29-year-old man as the suspect and are searching for him.

Trying to Break the Cycle

Prosecutors in L.A. and San Joaquin counties have announced plans to automatically clear about 54,000 marijuana-related convictions. Now that pot is legal in California, there’s a growing movement to offer a clean slate to those encumbered by their past. Studies have shown that people of color are more likely to be arrested and punished in connection with marijuana offenses, even though whites, blacks and Latinos use and sell marijuana at similar rates. The result, critics say, is a vicious cycle of poverty and incarceration.

The Coco Chanel of Belly Dance

Belly dancers from the around the world go to get fitted by Eman Zaki, and for good reason. She is often called the Coco Chanel of belly dance. Our latest Column One feature brings you inside her Cairo atelier: “If you need a tiger-print mesh ensemble with a diamante halter top encrusted with fake pearls, she can make it. Same goes for a gold and fuchsia-tinted stretch pleather mermaid gown with opalescent paillettes.”

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On this date in 1976, daredevil Steve McPeak took a walk across the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro — using the highest cable, with Celeste Farr just below him on the catwalk. McPeak was promoting an appearance at a Convention Center sports show. ​​​​​​​Upon arriving at the Terminal Island side, they were promptly arrested.

April 2, 1976: A helicopter observes tightrope walker Steve McPeak’s journey over the Vincent Thomas Bridge. His assistant, Celeste Farr, accompanies him.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times)


-- How much of USC’s sweeping sexual abuse investigation will stay secret? At this point, it’s unclear.

-- Fifteen players and three coaches of the L.A. Jr. Kings hockey team have been suspended after a video was posted to a social media site in which one player performed a Nazi salute and others reportedly were heard to make what sounded like anti-Semitic comments.

-- An inmate who is serving a nine-year sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison is asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow him to visit his 4-year-old son, as the toddler fights death from a gunshot wound to the head.

-- Ralph Fertig, a 1960s Freedom Rider who went on to become one of the nation’s most ardent defenders of the marginalized, the misunderstood and the neglected, has died at 89.



-- Can George Clooney persuade Hollywood to boycott hotels over Brunei’s antigay laws?

-- They are 28, going on 12: How actors who are adults pull off playing children onstage.

-- In this podcast, director Harmony Korine discusses his new film, “The Beach Bum,” and how he’s skirting autobiography in his work.

-- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art plans to spend $650 million on a new building with less exhibition space. Art critic Christopher Knight says the plan is absurd.


-- The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution does not guarantee a “painless death” for condemned murderers, deciding that a Missouri inmate may be executed by a lethal injection despite a rare, severe condition that could cause him to suffocate.

-- Health officials say the number of U.S. measles cases through the first three months of the year has surpassed the count for all of 2018.

-- Britain‘s Parliament has spoken and it has said no, again, to a way out of the country’s Brexit mess.

-- Facebook says it’s removed hundreds of pages and accounts linked to government and political organizations in India and Pakistan that misled users about their identities.

-- In Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will resign before the end of his fourth term, state media said. It’s the latest move aimed at mollifying millions of Algerians who have protested his rule in recent weeks.


-- A filing has revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Aramco is the most profitable company on Earth.

-- Columnist David Lazarus explains why buying a car may result in a scary (and pointless) “adverse action notice.”


-- USC athletic director Lynn Swann was in Virginia on Saturday to sign autographs at a memorabilia show. To at least one former Trojans player, it was not a good look.

-- The latest horse death at Santa Anita has left some of racing’s biggest names fearing the worst.


-- Attention, Joe Biden: It’s not charming, it’s obnoxious. Give us a real apology, writes columnist Robin Abcarian.

-- Trump putting Sen. Rick Scott of Florida in charge of his healthcare push is a sick joke. Columnist Michael Hiltzik explains why.


-- The children of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have received million-dollar houses and monthly five-figure payments as compensation for the killing of their father, according to current and former Saudi officials as well as people close to the family. (Washington Post)

-- A reporter’s anguish: “I wrote a story that became a legend. Then I discovered it wasn’t true.” (Columbia Journalism Review)

-- Paris’ Hotel Lutetia is haunted by history: the ghosts of Nazis, French resistance fighters and concentration camp survivors. (Smithsonian)


Start spreading the news. New York City may be best known for its Mafiosi and the Statue of Liberty, but it’s been taking some cues from L.A. in its burgeoning dining scene. Yes, we’re a day late for April Fools’, but food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson has some tips, inspired by that East Coast newspaper also called the Times, for Angelenos thinking about braving the Big Apple: “The Jewish-style delicatessen I am well familiar with — Los Angeles has the strongest deli scene in the country, after all — but I’d somehow never had a bagel before, a dense version of a baozi that’s boiled, then baked.” Enjoy.

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