President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced an executive order that enables the construction of a wall along the United States-Mexico border, a promise he maintained throughout his presidential campaign.
Neither Trump nor his administration officials have provided specifics about how the wall will be financed; however, ABC News reported prior to the signing that the money "may come from federal funds that have been diverted from other programs."
In April 2016, Trump said he would force Mexico to pay for the wall by cutting off remittances that Mexican immigrants send back to the country. In 2015, nearly $25 billion was sent to Mexico by its nationals living abroad. Trump's proposal would jeopardize that cash flow, which is vital for Mexico's economy.
Blocking those remittances may prove onerous. A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute shows that estimating the amount of money sent by Mexican immigrants every year will be difficult because official data accounts only for funds transferred through banks and money transfer companies. "Given the widespread use of informal remittance channels, the data should be regarded as underestimates of total flows," the report said.
Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was one of the linchpins of Trump's presidential campaign. Trump has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, even after his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Aug. 31, in the middle of the presidential race.
As expected, Trump has faced opposition from Peña Nieto and former Mexican President Vicente Fox. The former said on Twitter: "At the beginning of our conversation with Donald Trump I made clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."
Fox tweeted on Jan. 6 : "Trump, when will you understand that I am not paying for that fucking wall. Be clear with U.S. taxpayers. They will pay for it."
Jan. 25, 2017, 2:30 p.m.: This story has been updated.