Despite what President-elect Donald Trump says, Mexico insists it will not pay for a wall along its U.S. border.
Speaking at an annual gathering of Mexican diplomats, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reiterated his refusal to pay for the wall that was a part of Trump's campaign pledge to Americans.
“All matters that define our bilateral relationship are on the table including security, immigration and commerce,” Pena Nieto said, according to the Guardian. “It is evident that we have differences with the new United States government on some issues, such as a wall that Mexico absolutely will not pay. At no time will we accept anything that goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.”
He added: “Basic principles such as sovereignty, the national interest and the protection of our citizens are non-negotiable.”
Trump has said he wants to begin construction of a border wall immediately, and recognized that doing so will require it be paid for by American taxpayers.
But he said Mexico would eventually take up the cost.
“We’re going to get reimbursed,” Trump told The New York Times. “But I don’t want to wait that long. But you start, and then you get reimbursed.”
The Government Accountability Office estimates that a border barrier could cost $6.5 million per mile for construction of a single-layer fence, with an extra $4.2 million per mile for roads and more fencing, reported The New York Times.
Trump has estimated that the total cost for a border wall would be between $8 and $12 billion. But the MIT Technology Review said a more likely estimate would be $38 billion.