Mexico cites national 'dignity' in refusing to pay for Trump's wall

Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray cited "dignity" in refusing to pay for the wall proposed by Donald Trump and added that his nation will not be "bullied" by the U.S.


“Mexico will not pay for that wall, not only because it doesn’t make any sense for either Mexico or the U.S. to enter into that type of threat rhetoric, but it’s also a matter of dignity,” Videgaray said Saturday in an interview in Washington. “There’s no way in which Mexico can be bullied into doing such a thing.”

The Republican presidential candidate said in a memo this month that as president, he would block payments that Mexican workers in the U.S. send to their home country, known as remittances, if Mexico’s government refuses to foot the bill for a wall he wants to build along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,218 km) border. Trump has said the wall would subdue illegal immigration and cost $8 billion to $10 billion. Officials in Mexico have repeatedly said they have no intention of paying for it.

Mexico has taken action to counteract Trump’s anti-immigrant message, including mounting an unprecedented effort to covert the country’s many permanent residents in the U.S. into citizens, a status that would enable them to vote -- presumably against Trump. Officially, Mexico says it respects U.S. sovereignty and has no strategy to influence the result of the presidential race. Yet diplomats are mobilizing to assist immigrants in gaining U.S. citizenship, hosting free workshops on naturalization.

About 12 million Mexicans live in the U.S. and almost half lack legal status, according to a study released in November by the Pew Research Center. Still, more Mexicans left the U.S. than arrived from 2009 to 2014, according to the nonpartisan research group. Trump, front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, kicked off his White House bid with invective directed at Mexican immigrants and a promise to build a border wall.

“The proposal to make Mexico pay for a wall and trying to achieve that through a set of threats is a proposal that has already failed,” said Videgaray, who was attending the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Mexico's attempt to influence the American presidential election is an unfriendly act, and it should be called out for it by the Obama administration.  But since the president's ultimate goal is to naturalize as many Mexican citizens – legal and illegal – as possible, we aren't likely to hear a peep from the White House about this blatant interference in our politics.

As for Trump's idiotic idea to get the Mexicans to cough up cash for his wall, someone should have whispered in his ear that there are other ways to get cash from the U.S. into Mexico that don't involve the banking system.  Not that U.S. banks wouldn't sue to keep the remittances flowing.  The banks charge a fee for every transfer, and seizing those remittances – a dubious constitutional action – would take a sizable chunk of their profits.

But it hardly matters.  Congress will never authorize the boondoggle anyway. 

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