Mexican president vows not to pay for Trump’s wall on border
MEXICO CITYMexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country will not pay for a massive wall U.S. President Donald Trump is moving to build on the border with Mexico.
“I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” AFP quoted Pena Nieto as saying on Jan. 25 in a nationally televised message.
“I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he said, referring to Trump’s vow to make the southern neighbor pay for the barrier.
“Mexico gives and demands respect as the completely sovereign nation that we are,” Pena Nieto said.
Trump on Jan. 25 ordered construction of a U.S.-Mexican border wall and punishment for cities shielding illegal immigrants while mulling restoring a CIA secret detention program as he launched broad but divisive plans to reshape U.S. immigration and national security policy.
The directives ordered the construction of a multibillion-dollar wall along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200-km) U.S.-Mexico border, moved to strip federal funding from “sanctuary” states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants, and expanded the force of American immigration agents.
Pena Nieto said he would wait for a report from a high-level Mexican delegation holding meetings in the U.S. capital this week and consult with governors and lawmakers before deciding on “the next steps to take.”
Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who was in Washington, told the Televisa network that Pena Nieto will weigh whether to travel to Washington next week but that “the meeting stands for now.”
To the Mexicans, who aspire to go to the U.S., Trump’s executive order to build a wall seemed more like a symbolic and worrisome gesture of a new chapter in U.S-Mexico relations than a real deterrent for people to enter the country illegally.
“Even if they build the wall, I will climb the wall. I bring a ladder the size of the wall, even from sticks or whatever, but I’ll make it, and I’ll jump over there,” Josi de Jeszs Rammrez, a recently deported Mexican migrant whose wife and children are in the U.S., told The Associated Press.
Lawmakers are pressuring Pena Nieto to scrap the Jan. 31 talks in Washington after Trump made good on his campaign pledge to quickly order the construction of the barrier.
The last time Pena Nieto met with Trump, things did not go well for the Mexican leader.
Pena Nieto came under massive criticism at home for hosting the Republican billionaire during the U.S. presidential election in August 2016 even though Trump had called Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug runners.