Screengrab via Twitter

Mexican president: ‘Mexico does not believe in walls’

President Enrique Peña Nieto says Mexico will not pay for Trump's wall.

Feb 28, 2020, 4:59 pm*

Tech

Amrita Khalid 

Amrita Khalid

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto repeated his claim on Wednesday that Mexico would not pay for a border wall built on the United States’ southern border. 

In a video message posted to Twitter on Wednesday night, Nieto reiterated that Mexico would not pay for any wall and added that the 50 Mexican Consulates in the U.S. will be used to defend the rights of immigrants in the country. 

“Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said it time and time again: Mexico will not pay for any wall,’” said Nieto.

The timing of Nieto’s message appears strategic. The Mexican president’s video message was delivered near the end of Trump’s White House interview with ABC News’ David Muir, which aired at 10pm ET on Wednesday night. 

Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that would authorize construction of the border wall. U.S. taxpayers will front the cost of the wall; Trump’s transition team is working with Congress to fund the wall through appropriations. Muir pushed back on Trump’s claims that Mexico will eventually pay for the wall. 

“But you talked often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, ‘It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.’ He say—,” Muir began before Trump interrupted him.

“David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you there will be a payment,” Trump said. “It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.”

Trump has floated the idea of using remittances—money sent from Mexican immigrants working in the United States to their relatives in Mexico—to pay for the wall.

Trump threatened to cancel his Jan. 31 meeting with Nieto on Thursday morning. A few hours later, Nieto canceled the meeting himself.

Despite Nieto’s claim that Mexico is opposed to walls, the U.S. may actually help Mexico build its own wall—on the Mexico–Guatemala border. Mexican news outlet La Politica Online reported that the Trump administration is considering helping Mexico secure its southern border in order to stop the flow of migrants fleeing violence and drug cartels in Central America. 

Update 11am CT, Jan. 26: Nieto has canceled his meeting with Trump, the Washington Post reports. We have updated this piece to reflect the new status of the meeting.

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*First Published: Jan 26, 2017, 11:19 am