As the U.S. prepares to begin constructing the Mexican border wall that Mexican leaders said they would not pay for, President Donald Trump has instructed the U.S. federal government to compile a list of all programs that benefit Mexico in any way.
Trump's Jan. 25 executive order authorizing the wall required federal agencies to provide Mexican aid information to the secretary of state by Feb. 25, reports The Huffington Post. However, due to the high volume of Trump's executive orders and other high-profile events following Trump's inauguration, the policy flew under the radar.
The request reportedly took many officials by surprise, including Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, who in his subcommittee oversees foreign aid programs like USAID. He said that the administration had not yet reached out to him about the executive order's implications.
"I expect that the administration’s looking at various methods and combinations of methods to do what they want to do, but I’m not privy to any of the details," said Risch.
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It could indicate Trump intends to suspend or discuss suspending all funding to Mexico if it continues to refuse to fund the border wall construction, as Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other top and former officials have stated repeatedly since first Trump suggested it.
"Mexico does not believe in walls," Pena Nieto said in a Spanish-language video statement posted to Twitter in January, when he and Trump canceled a meeting due to differences on the matter, according to CNN. "I've said time again: Mexico will not pay for any wall."
Francisco Franco Quintero, a security specialist at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City, told The Huffington Post that much security aid to Mexico goes toward the U.S.'s anti-drug trafficking efforts as well as the Mexican military and police, which are unpopular among many Mexicans due to alleged corruption and human rights violations.
"This aid isn’t something the U.S. is giving the Mexican government out of its own good will," Franco Quintero said. "It's part of a recognition on the part of previous administrations that both countries have an interest in fighting drug trafficking. It wouldn't be a punishment for Mexico ... It would be a punishment for both countries."
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Sources: The Huffington Post, CNN / Photo credit: Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons