Mexico: 'We Don't Believe in Walls,' Won't Be Paying

Peña Nieto says 'I regret and condemn the decision' to move forward on border wall
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2017 5:13 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2017 5:32 AM CST
Mexico President: We Don't Believe in Walls
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during a press conference at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Tension between President Trump and Mexico over his border wall plans was probably inevitable, though not everybody expected it to flare up before his administration was a week old. After Trump signed an executive order Wednesday and promised to start building the wall within months, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told his country in a televised address that Mexico "does not believe in walls" and will not pay for it, no matter what Trump says, the BBC reports. "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," he said. In other coverage:

  • Peña Nieto said Mexico still offers its friendship to the US, but he didn't confirm whether he plans to go ahead with his Jan. 31 meeting with Trump at the White House, the Guardian reports. Senior government officials said late Wednesday that the Mexican leader is thinking about calling it off.

  • CNN reports that Peña Nieto said he would wait for an evaluation from Mexican officials in the US before confirming the visit to the US. He also said he had ordered government agencies, including the 50 Mexican consulates in the US, to step up protection for immigrants.
  • The Washington Post looks at five major challenges the wall project will face, including rough terrain and the fact that most land along the border in Texas is privately owned.
  • In Mexico, people are furious and are calling for a stern response to Trump's plans, reports the New York Times. "It's like we are Charlie Brown and they are Lucy with the football," says former foreign minister Jorge Castaneda. "Peña is a weak president in a weak country at a weak moment, but he has to find a way to get some official backbone." Historians say the last president to anger Mexico this much was Calvin Coolidge, who threatened to invade "Soviet Mexico" in the 1920s.
  • The Los Angeles Times looks at the details of the border wall project and other immigration-related actions Trump unveiled Wednesday. His plan to withhold federal grants from "sanctuary cities" like LA is expected to start legal battles that will last for years.
(More Mexico stories.)

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