Immigration advocates and others assailed the new president’s actions. Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the president’s desire to construct a border wall was “driven by racial and ethnic bias that disgraces America’s proud tradition of protecting vulnerable migrants.”
How Trump plans to pay for the wall project is murky. While he has repeatedly promised that Mexico will foot the bill, U.S. taxpayers are expected to cover the initial costs and the new administration has said nothing about how it might compel Mexico to reimburse the money.
In an interview with ABC News earlier Wednesday, Trump said, “There will be a payment; it will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”
Pena Nieto said Wednesday, “I have said time and again, Mexico will not pay for any wall.” He has been expected to meet with Trump at the White House next week, although a senior official said Trump’s announcement had led him to reconsider the visit.
Congressional aides say there is about $100 million of unspent appropriations in the Department of Homeland Security account for border security, fencing and infrastructure. That would allow planning efforts to get started, but far more money would have to be appropriated for construction to begin.