Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto today said that his country ‘will not pay for any wall’. The reaction comes hours after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
"Mexico does not believe in walls. I've said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall," he said in a video statement posted to Twitter.
The President further said that he would wait for a final report from his top officials who arrived in Washington on Wednesday to meet with the Trump administration, and previous meetings with Mexican legislators, before deciding which steps he would take next.
Nieto said that he had ordered government agencies to step up protection for immigrants.
The President said that the 50 Mexican consulates in the US would be used to defend the rights of immigrants in the country.
"Mexico offers its friendship to the people of the US and expresses its wish to arrive at agreements with its government, deals that will be in favour of Mexico and the Mexicans," he said.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportation.
Building a wall on the Mexican border was one of Trump's biggest promises during his campaign. He strongly believes that doing so will put a stop to the influx of illegal immigrants coming into the US. His signature policy prescription was to build a wall across the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border between the United States and Mexico. Some of the border is already fenced, but Trump said that a wall is needed to stop illegal immigrants entering from Latin America.
In 2014, there were an estimated 5.8 million unauthorized Mexican migrants in the United States, with fewer arriving each year before that.