Trump repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign that he would build a wall along the southwest border and force Mexico to pay for it. But Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has made it clear Mexico would never fund the wall and efforts to get the funding from Congress have yet to materialise.
On September 1, 2016 Trump insisted that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall “100%”, in a major immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I also worked with lawmakers, who’ve led on this issue on behalf of American citizens for many years. And most importantly I’ve met with the people directly impacted by these policies. So important.”
“Number one, are you ready? Are you ready?”
“We will build a great wall along the southern border.”
“And Mexico will pay for the wall.”
“One hundred percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for it. And they’re great people and great leaders but they’re going to pay for the wall.”
“On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall.”
“We will use the best technology, including above and below ground sensors that’s the tunnels. Remember that, above and below.”
“Trump promised to secure the border and suggested that illegal Mexicans may be deported.”
Hours earlier, Trump had met Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Trump claimed that the wall hadn’t been discussed, however Nieto later insisted he had told Trump Mexico would not pay.
During the speech, Trump stated:
“We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with great dignity.”
Before later adding:
“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws.”
He promised to deport two million “criminal aliens” in his first hour in office; warned that millions more would be “subject to deportation” and re-stated his signature pledge, to build that “beautiful” wall.
Trump’s latest plan is attempting to force Mexico to pay for the wall through remittance fees and addressing Mexico’s trade surplus through tariffs.
The plan aides are piecing together would force Mexico to pay for the wall in indirect ways, including through remittance fees and tapping Mexico’s trade surplus with the United States.
A former Trump advisor stated:
“The wall will be funded partially or all by an additional revenue stream.”
Trump’s priority is getting the $25 billion required to fund the wall as part of a package deal that would protect so-called Dreamers and reduce family migration.
Alternative proposals include adding a tax on money sent by individuals in the United States to recipients in Mexico. Another is directing a surplus in revenue from a revised trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
More than a year into his presidency, Trump has not backed down on the promise, although the size, cost and source of funds for the wall have shifted.
On January 18, 2018 Trump tweeted:
….The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
During a joint press conference at the White House with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on July 30, 2018, Trump claimed:
“I would have no problem doing a shutdown. It’s time we had border security.”
Federal government funding expires at the end of September, just weeks before the November mid-terms, where lots of Republicans are under pressure. This could be the third shutdown since Republicans took control of the White House, House and Senate.
Trump told reporters:
“I’ll always leave room for negotiation, but this has been many years. This isn’t just Trump administration; we’re new. It’s been many years, even decades. We have immigration laws, we have border security, we have all sorts of things going on that are – it’s disgraceful.”
“We are doing a phenomenal job, we are setting records, but we have laws that don’t work so we are working around those laws and it’s unfortunate … Border security includes the wall but it includes many other things… I would certainly be willing to close it down to get it done.”
On Tuesday July 31, 2018, Trump further raised the pressure when he claimed that he would be willing to shut down the federal government this week if Congress does not approve his border security proposal, which includes the wall.
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, said it’s significant to Trump himself since he made it a central theme of his campaign. The vow that Mexico would pay for the wall generated some of his loudest applause lines.
“He wants to keep his word to American people”