STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Spanish foreign minister claims Trump told him to build wall across the Sahara desert to stop migrants

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claims that ...

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 6:05 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2018 6:05 PM

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claims that US President Donald Trump suggested Spain should build a wall across the Sahara desert to deal with the issue of migration from Africa.

Borrell made the remarks in a speech Tuesday during a lunch at Club Siglo XXI in Madrid, in reference to the expected massive growth in the number of young Africans seeking work in the next two decades. He did not specify where Trump had spoken but described it as happening "recently."

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

Border control

Deserts (by name)

Donald Trump

International relations

National security

Physical locations

Political Figures - US

Sahara Desert

Territorial and national borders

Continents and regions

Europe

Government and public administration

Immigration politics

Political platforms and issues

Politics

US-Mexico border wall

Southern Europe

Spain

Government bodies and offices

Latin America

Mexico

North America

The Americas

US federal government

White House

Europe-Mediterranean migrant crisis

Deserts

Environment and natural resources

Landforms and ecosystems

Government departments and authorities

State departments and diplomatic services

"You need to build a wall around the Sahara," Trump said, according to Borrell. The minister impersonated Trump's voice as he spoke, according to an audio file heard by CNN.

The White House disputed the account.

"While we can confirm that the President has discussed migration challenges with Spanish interlocutors, we do not have record of this specific comment," a senior White House official told CNN.

According to the Spanish foreign minister, Trump, asked if he was aware of the size of the Sahara, replied: "It can't be bigger than our border with Mexico."

Borrell continued: "Well, yes, it is way bigger than the border with Mexico, and in any case it wouldn't be very useful to do that."

A spokesman for the Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed to Borrell's comments to CNN but said the ministry had no further comment in relation to the minister's remarks.

The Sahara desert extends for nearly 3,000 miles across the African continent. Around a dozen countries lie wholly or in part within the Sahara, including Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Egypt, Algeria, Chad and Niger. Spain is not one of them, so any wall would have to be built entirely on other nations' land.

The US-Mexico border is a little under 2,000 miles long.

Trump was elected in 2016 having campaigned on a promise to build a wall along the United States' southern border, which he said Mexico would pay for. Mexico has refused and funding for the wall remains mired in Congress amid opposition from Democrats.

Immigration is a contentious issue in Spain, as in many countries in Europe. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez faced criticism from some in June when he offered refuge in Spain to more than 600 migrants on a rescue ship after they were turned away by Italy's populist leaders.

More than 33,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, a UN agency. That figure represents 43% of all irregular arrivals via the Mediterranean this year, the IOM said -- putting Spain ahead of Italy and Greece, also popular destinations for migrants arriving by sea.

Spain also has two tiny northern African territories which border Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla. They are Europe's only land borders with Africa.

The enclaves, which lie on the Mediterranean coast, have long been popular transit points for sub-Saharan African migrants. Last month, several hundred migrants stormed a border fence to enter Ceuta, leaving more than 150 people injured.

The number of migrants seeking to enter Europe illegally has fallen sharply from a peak in 2015, when the IOM recorded total arrivals to Europe by sea at just over 1 million. Altogether, around 77,500 migrants have reached Europe by sea illegally so far this year, according to the IMO.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
Neshoba96069
Lauderdale88278
Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
Copiah56615
Leake54819
Jackson53316
Holmes52741
Wayne52112
Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
Yazoo4736
Leflore47249
Lowndes45311
Warren44317
Lincoln43534
Lamar4197
Grenada3805
Monroe36729
Pike36712
Attala35223
Lafayette3524
Newton3289
Sunflower3066
Covington3025
Bolivar27713
Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
Claiborne23610
Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
Cherokee747
Lamar711
Fayette671
Geneva670
Clay582
Coosa551
Cleburne291
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather