President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has signaled to Congress that he wants legislation that will require American taxpayers to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But Trump immediately pushed back on reports that he was asking only U.S. taxpayers pay for the proposed wall, reports CNN.
"The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!" Trump tweeted on Jan. 6.
Republican Rep. Chris Collins defended a future proposal to have American taxpayers pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"When you understand that Mexico's economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play," Collins, a member of the Trump transition team, told CNN. "On the trade negotiation side, I don't think it's that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it's in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall."
During the presidential campaign, Trump made a potential border wall a cornerstone of his speeches.
On his campaign website, Trump proposed pressuring the Mexican government to pay for the wall's construction by restricting remittances sent by Mexican nationals in the U.S. and enforcing heavy trade tariffs.
Trump's team said he already has the authority to begin building a border wall because of the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which Hillary Clinton voted for when she was a New York senator.
The law authorized “the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our Southern border,” according to the President George W. Bush White House archives.
President Barack Obama was criticized for not following through on completing the border fence.
"Five years ago, legislation was passed to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence along the southwest border," former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina wrote in 2011, according to Politifact. "This is a promise that has not been kept. Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5 percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles."