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TimesVideoWatch Live: Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Hold Press Conference President Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to the White House, marking the first visit by a foreign leader during Mr. Biden’s presidency.

TimesVideoWatch Live: Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Hold Press Conference President Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to the White House, marking the first visit by a foreign leader during Mr. Biden’s presidency.

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Video: Secretary of Defense Austin pays unannounced visit to Afghanistan

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Defense Secretary Austin pays unannounced visit to Afghanistan

Lloyd J. Austin III spoke to reporters on Sunday after meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Defense Secretary declined to comment on a deadline for the withdrawal of US troops tentatively set for May 1.

[inaudible speaking] Journalist: “Mr. Secretary, do you think the Taliban fulfilled the conditions to ensure the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan? “You know, this process of reviewing whether or not they’ve been met is going on. And as you saw with our efforts in Doha, and so, you know, I won’t, I don’t care to comment on that. I will not comment on this. But what I will say is that it is obvious that the level of violence remains quite high in the country. We would really like to see this violence decrease. And I think if that falls, it can start to create the conditions for, you know, some really fruitful diplomatic work. Reporter: “What was your message to President Ghani, and also I wanted to know if you think it would be a good idea to set an end date for a withdrawal? [inaudible]? “” Yes, and thank you, I did not carry a message or convey a message to the president. Again, I really wanted to listen to him and understand his concerns and see the landscape through his eyes. And that’s what we’ve done. I really had the chance to hear it and it was very useful to me. In terms of an end date or setting a specific withdrawal date, that’s my boss’s domain. That’s the decision the president will make at some point in terms of how he wants to approach this in the future. And I don’t want to try to do my boss’s job for him. He doesn’t need me to do that. I will continue to participate in a very meaningful way. “

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US Secretary of Defense pays secret visit to Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III landed in the Afghan capital on Sunday morning, becoming the first member of President Biden’s cabinet to set foot in the country that is home to America’s longest war .

The United States is tentatively prepared to withdraw U.S. forces from the country on May 1, a date set in an agreement signed by the Trump administration and the Taliban over a year ago.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure from Afghanistan, Austin declined to say whether the Taliban had honored their obligations under the deal.

“It is evident that the level of violence remains quite high in the country,” Austin said. “We would really like the violence to decrease, and I think if it decreases it can start to create the conditions for truly fruitful diplomatic work.”

Mr Austin objected to the idea of ​​setting a different departure date for US forces, saying Mr Biden would make the decision.

“What we want is a responsible end to this conflict,” he added.

Mr Biden said in an ABC News interview that aired last week that meeting the deadline would be “difficult.” On Saturday, speaking to reporters in India, Austin said he was convinced he could withdraw any remaining US troops from Afghanistan by May 1, if the president ordered him to do so.

About 3,500 US troops are now stationed in Afghanistan, 1,000 more than government officials previously revealed. The New York Times reported the higher troop levels last week, citing a senior US official who noted that some special operations forces have been sidelined. US troops have had a continuous presence in the country since 2001.

The Secretary of Defense’s visit came at the end of more than a week’s journey across the Pacific during which he reassured his allies that they would have US support to counter potential threats from China. .

First, at US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, the Secretary was briefed by Admiral Philip S. Davidson on various threats in the region and how US military assets have been deployed in response. Flying alongside Japan and South Korea, Mr. Austin joined Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken for talks with the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.

The two secretaries underscored the Biden administration’s position that diplomacy is once again the first course of action for the United States in foreign affairs.

In New Delhi, where Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, senior U.S. defense officials said India’s leaders mostly spoke about concerns about China. It was only towards the end of their talks that the issue of Pakistan – India’s neighbor and traditional main enemy – was raised.

The trip, Mr. Austin’s first as a cabinet member, comes as Mr. Biden seeks to strike a series of security deals with various nations that could unite to respond to Chinese military operations in the seas. southern and eastern China.

One of these agreements between the United States, Australia, Japan and India – called “the Quad” – has been cited repeatedly by Mr. Austin and Mr. Blinken as a model for combined military operations. In the region. Mr Austin did not ask South Korea to join the Quad while he was in Seoul, according to a senior defense official.

Mr Austin’s trip to Kabul was kept secret and was to remain so until two hours after his departure, but local reporters announced his visit after meeting with President Ashraf Ghani.

The secretary’s arrival in Kabul took place on Nowruz, the Persian New Year – a date on which the Islamic State in Afghanistan had pledged to carry out attacks. This led the Pentagon to keep the secretary’s visit a secret for as long as possible.

After landing in Kabul, Mr. Austin boarded a US Army Black Hawk helicopter for a brief flight to the US military mission headquarters. Right next to the old football stadium that serves as the command’s helipad, General Austin S. Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, quickly led Mr. Austin through a maze of small buildings and tall concrete walls. to his office.

Mr Austin told reporters he had no particular message for Mr Ghani, preferring instead to listen to the Afghan president’s thoughts on the situation in his country.

“We have worked a lot with the Afghan security forces,” Austin said in response to a question about concerns the Afghans may have following the US withdrawal. “And I don’t want to speculate on what might happen or what might not happen in the future.”

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris plan to visit Asian-American leaders in Atlanta.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet in Atlanta on Friday with community leaders and state lawmakers from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and cancel a planned political event, the White House said Thursday.

“In view of the Georgia tragedy on Tuesday night, President Biden and Vice President Harris will postpone political evening in Georgia to a later date,” officials said in a press release. “During their trip to Atlanta, they will instead meet with Asian-American leaders to discuss ongoing attacks and threats against the community, meet other local leaders and also visit the Centers for Disease Control to receive an update. of the health team. and medical experts involved in the fight against the pandemic. “

Mr Biden and Ms Harris were scheduled to visit the city as part of a promotional tour for the $ 1.9 trillion economic relief program Mr Biden enacted last week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported details of the meeting with community leaders.

On Thursday, Biden ordered flags outside the White House, other public buildings, military posts, and naval stations in the District of Columbia and across the country and its territories to fly half-staffed. to honor the victims of the Atlanta spa shooting. .

The proclamation, which will take place at sunset Monday, also includes “all United States embassies, legations, consular offices and other facilities of the United States abroad, including all military installations and naval ships and stations.” , did he declare.

Mr Biden said Wednesday that “the question of motivation remains to be determined” in the shootings in Georgia, while reiterating his concerns over a recent surge in violence against Asian Americans.

“Whatever the motivation here,” he said, “I know Asian Americans are very worried. Because, as you know, I’ve been talking about the brutality against Asian Americans for the past few months, and I think it’s very, very disturbing. But I don’t make any connection at the moment with the motivation of the killer. I await a response – as the investigation progresses – from the FBI and the Department of Justice. And I will have more to say when the investigation is over. “

In his first prime-time speech as president last week, marking one year of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Biden denounced “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed , blamed and scapegoat ”.

“Right now, so many of them – our fellow Americans – are on the front lines of this pandemic, trying to save lives, and they are still forced to live in fear for their lives by walking in the streets of America, “he said.” That’s wrong, it’s not American and it has to stop. “

Mrs. Harris, the first wife and the first Asian american to occupy the office, expressed condolences to the families of the victims on Wednesday.

“This speaks to a larger issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we need to do to never tolerate it and to always speak out against it,” said Harris, adding that the motive for the shooting was still not clear. .

“I want to tell our Asian-American community that we are with you and that we understand how this has scared, shocked and outraged everyone,” she added.

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Video: US officials denounce China’s ‘coercion’ during visit to Japan

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US officials denounce China’s ‘coercion’ during visit to Japan

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken criticized China’s “destabilizing actions” in the Pacific during a visit to Tokyo on Tuesday.

We believe in democracy and human rights, in the rule of law, because we have seen how much stronger our own countries are, because we adhere to these values ​​and because they are threatened in many places, including in this region. China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermine democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and claim maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law. We are united in the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, where countries follow the rules, cooperate whenever they can, and peacefully resolve their differences. And in particular, we will push back, if necessary, when China uses coercion or aggression to achieve its ends. I know that Japan shares our concerns about China’s destabilizing actions. And as I said before, China is a pace challenge for the Defense Ministry. And we know that competition in today’s changing global dynamics can only be achieved through the spirit of teamwork and cooperation, which are hallmarks of our alliance with Japan.

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Get out and visit a national park in complete safety

Vast vistas, serene lakes, abundant wildlife and good ol ‘fresh air – what’s not to love about national parks? So many Americans took refuge in parks during the pandemic that 15 of them set recreational visitation records in 2020. All parks have adjusted their operations in the wake of Covid-19, and with distancing protocols Social still in place almost a year later, there could be competition for campsites, ferry rides, programs and, in some cases, day passes at the more popular parks.

“This is the year to prepare,” said John Kelly, assistant manager of Acadia National Park in Maine. “Visitors really need to plan ahead and be very thoughtful and ready for things to change.” All parks are currently required to comply with President Biden’s executive order requiring masks to be worn in federal buildings and on federal lands when social distancing is not possible – “even in parking lots, on trails and on trails. mountain peaks where others are present, ”Mr. Kelly mentioned.

However, with a little planning and creativity, you can get a good dose of nature while avoiding the crowds and hassle. And although there are only 63 proper national parks, the Parks Service manages 360 other national monuments, recreation areas, beaches and other sites that offer unique attractions and fewer crowds.

“So many people, I think most of us, feel so tired, downtrodden and exhausted from the pandemic,” said Emily Pennington, national parks columnist for Outside magazine, who has visited all of the national parks. of the country in 2020. “Parks are not only relatively safe places, but also places to rekindle that sense of wonder.

Here are some ways to safely and conveniently enjoy the great outdoors during the warmer months to come.

In iconic national parks, some accommodation, transportation and program options are booked much earlier than they would in a normal year as more people travel to the country and fewer slots are available. . Parks that have limited transportation options are particularly at risk of booking.

“You should plan this month or else you may not be able to get to the island,” said Chris Amidon, supervising ranger of Isle Royale National Park, an island in Lake Superior accessible only. by ship or by plane.

It is wise to check if the land parks also have restrictions. Acadia, for example, requires advance reservations to drive the Cadillac Summit Road this year. Many parks also encourage visitors to pay entrance fees online in advance through recreation.gov, and some have already requested reservations for daytime use. Printing passes and cards can mean you don’t have to stand in line to pay the fees.

In many parks, rangers are still deciding which of their facilities to open to visitors this summer and at what capacity. Reservations open on an ongoing basis, and the most immediate way to stay up to date with changes and reservation options, other than visiting the parks’ websites, is to follow the national parks on their Facebook accounts, Twitter or Instagram. National parks do not monitor changes in state travel restrictions, so if you plan to leave your state, check your destination state’s public health website to make sure you meet their requirements by the time. departure.

For campers who don’t like to book in advance, parks usually reserve a number of campgrounds to set up on a first come, first served basis. But some campgrounds, like Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo., Filled up as early as 6 a.m. last summer. If you like camping, private campsites, such as those run by the KOA company, in nearby towns are more likely to have openings.

Hipcamp is a website and app used to find both established campsites and private hosts who allow camping on their land, similar to Airbnb. Also consider interviewing park staff about scattered or pristine camping areas on the adjacent forest service, Bureau of Land Management, or other public lands. These remote sites usually don’t have amenities like bathrooms and picnic tables, but make up for that in the quiet. Some road atlases, such as National Geographic’s Adventure Edition, have icons where public camping is allowed, and apps like The Dyrt, WikiCamps, and Campendium can help locate campsites.

Hotels in parks can be even more difficult to book than campsites. For some popular lodges like the Phantom Ranch, which sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, online lotteries for reservations are held up to 14 months in advance. (But last-minute spots open to those who are flexible with their dates.) If you like a real bed and four walls and don’t mind hitting the park every day, gateway cities such as West Yellowstone, Mont., Jackson, Wyo., Visalia, CA, and Durango, Colorado, offer more accommodation options and better value.

Guide services know how to secure campsites and book accommodation as soon as they are available and often have openings on their trips long after public sites are full. This year, REI Experiences is offering trips to 25 national parks. To enable social distancing, the company limits group sizes to eight and offers private trips for as few as four people for the price of a regular group trip. Sierra Club Outings also runs trips to national parks and has updated their cancellation policies to be more flexible during the pandemic.

Both guide services, along with the American Randonnée Society, offer organized volunteer trips for a fee. These allow visitors to give back, work alongside the rangers, and see different views of these legendary American landscapes. For those who prefer to volunteer independently and at no cost, opportunities to serve on federal lands are listed on volunteer.gov.

“A lot of people are addicted to having to see the highlights, but there are many ways to experience the parks,” said Bill Sycalik, a management consultant from Denver who runs a marathon at each of the parks. (He currently has eight to do.)

Mr. Sycalik noticed that crowds generally decrease to almost zero about two miles from the trailhead. “It doesn’t take much to experience loneliness, but it does take a little effort.” Some parks limit access to certain sensitive or exceptional areas through permit systems and lotteries. You can find out about these special excursions and apply for permits and lotteries through recreation.gov.

Visiting the parks early in the morning or after dark can lead to some of the most memorable experiences. “If you can manage to bite the bullet, set off an alarm and get up early, you can usually enjoy the most famous tourist areas of the parks with hardly any crowds,” Ms. Pennington said of Outside magazine. “I woke up at 5 am, went to Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful at sunrise.”

At dusk and dawn, wildlife is generally more active and can be spotted more easily. In addition, more than two dozen national parks and other National Park Service sites have been designated as night sky parks, meaning they have exceptional stargazing opportunities. Some offer nightly programs like astronomy lectures or owl counts. Others have unique wonders that can only be seen at night, like Yosemite’s Moonbows, which are rainbows that form in the mist of waterfalls on full moon nights.

Parks are full of opportunities for children to learn and explore. For parents, the key is to adjust your expectations. “We want kids to have good experiences in national parks, so make sure you’re realistic,” said Frank Barrows, Visitor Experience and Community Engagement Program Manager for the National Park Service. “Getting that panoramic view may not be your child’s goal. They might have more fun interacting with what they see around them. “

Mr. Barrows recommends doing an insect, bird, or rock counting game, or stimulating children’s creative instincts by drawing pictures, writing poems, or filming a TikTok video about their experience. Bring a magnifying glass to view wildlife and plants, look under rocks in streams for creatures, climb rocks, or look for signs of animals like tracks, droppings, or feathers.

“The key is to listen and pay attention and watch the way they engage and then facilitate the experience based on that,” he said.

The beauty of national parks does not usually end abruptly at the park boundaries. Often the adjacent areas are equally spectacular and receive far fewer visitors. For example, many travelers visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in Utah, then take larger, more direct routes to Capitol Reef National Park.

But Route 12, a slower, windier alternative route, winds through amazing crimson, pink, and fawn canyons, filled with a waterfall or two. With thorny peaks, chirping waterfalls, and neck-high wildflowers, the west side of the Tetons near Driggs, Idaho is a dead ringer for Grand Teton National Park and sees a fraction of visitors. Many state parks also have attractions that rival their more famous neighbors, like Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, where multicolored alien-like hoodoos rival those of neighboring Canyonlands.

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Biden cancels visit to vaccine maker after report on his tactics

WASHINGTON – President Biden on Monday canceled a visit to a coronavirus vaccine plant run by Emergent BioSolutions, and his spokesperson said the administration would conduct an audit of the strategic national stockpile, the emergency medical reserve of the country.

Both actions came after a New York Times investigation into how the company has gained inordinate influence over the benchmark.

Instead of visiting Emerging’s facilities in Baltimore on Wednesday, the president will call a meeting at the White House with executives of pharmaceutical giants Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson, who were also due to attend the session in Baltimore, said White House officials. Merck and Emergent are each separately partnering with Johnson & Johnson to make that company’s coronavirus vaccine.

“We just thought it was a more suitable place to hold the meeting,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, told reporters.

Emergent has more than $ 600 million in contracts with the federal government to manufacture coronavirus vaccines and to expand its “fill and finish” capacity to complete the manufacturing process for vaccines and therapeutics. A senior administration official said only executives from Merck and Johnson & Johnson would attend the White House session on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Emerg did not immediately respond to questions about the cancellation on Monday. Spokeswoman Nina DeLorenzo had previously defended the company’s business with the government in written responses to questions, saying, “When hardly anyone else would invest to prepare to protect the American public from threats serious, Emergent did it, and the country is better prepared today because of it.

The Times investigation focused on the stock, which became infamous during the coronavirus pandemic due to its lack of essential supplies such as N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.

Asked about the Times article at the White House press conference on Monday, Ms Psaki said, “The administration will undertake a full review and audit of the national stock.”

Decisions on how to spend the limited repository budget are said to be based on careful assessments by government officials of how best to save lives, but The Times found that they were largely driven by demands and demands. financial interests of a handful of biotechnology companies that have specialized in products that deal with terrorist threats rather than infectious diseases.

The leader among them is Emergent. Throughout most of the past decade, the government has spent nearly half of the stockpile’s half-billion-dollar annual budget on Emergent’s anthrax vaccines, according to The Times.

In the competition for funding, pandemic preparedness products – including N95s – have been repeatedly lost, according to the Times investigation, which was based on more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviews with more than 60 people with in-depth knowledge of the stock.

The picture of some healthcare workers wearing garbage bags for their personal protection has become an enduring symbol of the government’s failure to respond. Yet the government paid Emergent $ 626 million in 2020 for products containing vaccines to protect against an anthrax terrorist attack.

For much of Emerging’s two-decade history, its primary product has been an anthrax vaccine, first licensed in 1970, which the company purchased in 1998 from the state of Michigan. Over time, the price per dose that the government agreed to pay Emergent has increased nearly six-fold, allowing for inflation.

Ms. DeLorenzo has previously defended the company’s pricing as fair. “You can’t protect people from anthrax for less than the price of a latte,” she wrote in an email.

Emerging’s sales to government in 2020 also included a new anthrax vaccine that has yet to be approved as safe and required special authorization to be stored. In the months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration awarded roughly $ 3 billion in long-term contracts to the company; Last year, the government agreed to pay the company more than $ 600 million to manufacture coronavirus vaccines for other companies at its facility in Baltimore. Emergent now manufactures coronavirus vaccines for AstraZeneca as well as for Johnson & Johnson.

Emergent, whose board of directors is made up of former federal officials, has deployed a lobbying budget more typical of certain large pharmaceutical companies, the Times found. He sometimes resorted to tactics deemed underhand even in Washington. Competing efforts to develop a better and cheaper anthrax vaccine, for example, collapsed after Emergent outsmarted rivals, documents and interviews show.

Ms. DeLorenzo called the company’s lobbying “education-oriented” and “appropriate and necessary”.

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Judge says florist indicted in Capitol Riot could visit Mexico

A federal judge said Friday that a Texas florist who was accused of participating in the riot on the United States Capitol last month could travel to Mexico for what she described as a “retirement of professional liaison ”.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the District of Columbia United States District Court granted the woman, Jenny Louise Cudd, permission to make the prepaid trip this month, saying she had no background criminals and that there was no evidence that it was theft. risk or danger to others.

Justice McFadden also said that the pre-service officer and Ms Cudd’s prosecutors did not oppose her travel request. Ms Cudd is to provide her route to her Pre-Trial Officer and follow any other instructions the officer gives her, the judge said.

Ms Cudd, who has been charged with violent entry and being in a restricted building or land, said in a court filing that she “planned and prepaid” for retirement with her employees on the Riviera Maya , south of Cancún, from February. February 18 to 21.

A grand jury indicted Ms Cudd, of Midland, Texas, on five counts, including disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and obstruction of formal process, according to documents filed in federal court.

Ms Cudd broadcast a live video of herself inside the Capitol on Jan.6, the FBI said. In the video, Ms Cudd said she watched President Donald J. Trump speak before “loading the Capitol today with patriots.”

“Damn, yeah, I’m proud of my actions,” she said on the video.

In the video, she also said, “We broke the door to Nancy Pelosi’s office and someone stole her hammer and took a picture sitting in the chair turning the camera around and it was on Fox News.

Ms Cudd, wearing a “Women for Trump 2020” cap, later said in a TV interview that she “would do it again in the blink of an eye.” She unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Midland in 2019.

Ms Cudd was allowed to remain free pending trial, Federal Court records show. A magistrate judge ordered him to stay away from Washington and said any travel plans must be approved by the court, depending on the terms of his release.

In court documents, lawyers for Ms Cudd said she had no criminal record, had complied with the terms of her release and that a pre-trial officer assigned to her case no ‘had “no objection” to the travel request.

Pre-trial officers are assigned to defendants to ensure that they do not commit a crime while they await trial and return to court when ordered.

David Kent, a federal prosecutor assigned to Ms Cudd’s case, told his lawyers that “the government is not taking a position on Ms Cudd’s request” to travel to Mexico, Ms Cudd’s lawyers wrote in a court file. .

Two of Ms Cudd’s first lawyers in the case, Farheena Siddiqui and Marina Medvin, did not return requests for comment. Mr Kent and the Justice Department did not respond to the messages this week.

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Video: WHO provides update on visit to China

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WHO provides update on visit to China

On Friday, the World Health Organization reviewed details of its investigation into the origin of the coronavirus in China and what it hopes to learn from the visit.

The list of planned site visits is very long and face-to-face meetings are continuing. What I disliked Visits will include the Wuhan Institute of Virology, other laboratories, Wuhan markets, first responders, hospitals in which the first clusters of cases have occurred. We continue to hope that all the data and all the meetings they need will take place. And just to reconfirm that all assumptions are on the table and we are hopefully looking forward to a successful conclusion of the mission. Success in animal-human interface investigations is not necessarily measured by the absolute search for a source on the first mission. It’s a complicated business, what we need to do is put together all the data, all the information, summarize all this discussion and come up with an assessment of what more we know about the origins of the disease, and what Moreover. studies may be needed for the release of.

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Trump will visit the Texas border wall in his first public appearance since the Capitol Riot.

President Donald J. Trump is scheduled to appear in Alamo, Texas on Tuesday, his first public appearance in nearly a week after his supporters fiercely attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election results. The purpose of the trip to the border with Mexico is to promote the partially constructed border wall, which the Trump administration sees as an achievement.

The president is scheduled to land in Harlingen at 1 p.m. local time, then fly a short helicopter ride to McAllen. From there, he should visit part of the border wall in the nearby town of Alamo, along the Rio Grande River.

Across the street from McAllen Airport, pedestrian fences have been placed where the President’s motorcade is expected to travel. McAllen Police and U.S. Border Patrol vehicles, as well as unidentified unidentified vehicles, patrolled the area prior to Mr. Trump’s arrival.

At the Aztek barber shop in Alamo, Alejandro Silva, 27, said he had nothing against Mr. Trump and had no opinion on the border wall.

“But he shouldn’t be visiting now,” said Mr. Silva, a mechanic. “He should step down and leave everyone alone.”

The president’s supporters were planning two parades on Tuesday in Harlingen and McAllen. After the riot on the U.S. Capitol last week that left five people dead, a coalition of anti-border wall activists, led by La Unión del Pueblo Entero, circulated a petition urging politicians to cancel Mr. Trump at Alamo.

“We cannot allow Trump to bring his racist mob to the Rio Grande Valley,” said John-Michael Torres, a spokesperson for the organizers.

Responding to fears, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in a statement: “I understand that emotions are strong on both sides, for or against the president and I hope that if there are protests for or against, that they are peaceful to our law enforcement personnel. “

The border visit draws attention to one of Mr. Trump’s flagship projects. In an effort to curb immigration from Latin America, Mr. Trump pushed forward the border wall over objections from tribal nations, local landowners and environmental groups, waiving dozens of laws, including measures protecting endangered species and Native American burial sites.

A few miles to the southeast, numerous crews erected sections of the border wall across the river from Reynosa, Mexico, in preparation for the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in Alamo. The 2,088-acre refuge, which abuts the Rio Grande, is where the federal government was granted access to land surveying last April after U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ruled that part of the land was not was not free from construction. The move angered some local residents who had assumed the park was banned.