Border Wall is a Waste of Money, says Mexico
On the same day as Trump appeared to back down on his demand for funding from Congress, Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray called the idea ofbuilding a border wall“unfriendly, “a hostile act” and “unlikely to fulfill the objectives” of stopping the flow of migrants and illegal merchandise into the United States.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall along the US-Mexico border literally hit a wall.
On the same day as Trump appeared to back down on his demand for funding from Congress, Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray tore into the idea of building a border, calling it “unfriendly, “a hostile act” and “unlikely to fulfill the objectives” of stopping the flow of migrants and illegal merchandise into the United States.
Since he took office, almost 100 days ago, the US President has said Mexico should pay for the building of a border wall, an idea that the Mexico government has firmly rejected.
Appearing in Congress, Videgaray, using a tough tone, told lawmakers that Mexico would not put a peso towards the construction costs. He also called plans for fencing off the frontier “an absolute waste of money” and said Mexico would pursue legal measures if its borders were infringed upon by the wall, as reported in The Guardian.
“The wall is not part of any bilateral discussion nor should it be,” Videgaray said. “Under no scenario will we contribute economically to an action of this kind.”
On Tuesday, Donald Trump's border wall plan confronted a difficult situation in the US Congress: Republican lawmakers removed from their budget demands the funds previously allocated to build the border wall with Mexico, given that Democrats were unwilling to agree to back the budget with that line item in place and after President Donald Trump softened his stance on the matter.
The president seems to be open to withdrawing his insistence that the $1.4 billion in financing he had demanded for the barrier be included in the budget, and the aim of the shift was clearly to achieve a consensus among lawmakers on the federal budget, which must be approved before Friday if a partial government shutdown is to be avoided.
After Trump went public with his budget proposal last month, in which he included his request for funding to start construction of the wall, Democrats drew a line in the sand and warned the president that they would block any budget bill that included it.
On Monday evening, Trump softened his stance on his demand for immediate funding for wall construction, saying during a meeting with a group of conservative media outlets that he could wait until autumn for the funds and include them in the budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which will be negotiated at that time.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, however, said that Trump remains intent on building a wall in the coming months and the administration will continue working on that and preparing to begin construction while negotiations are under way for next fiscal year's budget.
Trump’s insistence on building a border wall has complicated Mexico-US relations, which had become close and cooperative on trade, commerce and security matters after decades of indifference and mutual distrust.
In January, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto canceled his official visit to Washington after Trump tweeted that his Mexican counterpart “should cancel” if a payment was not forthcoming. After the incident, both leaders spoke and agreed to not publicly discuss payment, though Trump took to Twitter again to advocate for building the border wall.
According to The Guardian, political analysts in Mexico saw Trump’s difficulties in persuading his own country’s Congress on key campaign promises – repealing and replacing Obamacare and finding funding for a border wall – as an opportunity for Mexican functionaries, who have preferred to not antagonize Trump, to take a tougher tone.