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Mexicans aren’t about to pay for Trump’s wall
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Mexicans aren’t about to pay for Trump’s wall

  • Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Donald Trump is nothing if not persistent.

At Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate, the colorful frontrunner doubled down on his controversial promise to halt illegal immigration by building a wall along the entire Mexican border.

“We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly,” Trump said, adding for good measure that the Mexican government was deliberately sending its most undesirable citizens to the United States. 

But that may be the least of it. In the run up to the debate, the billionaire property developer was loudly insisting he’s going to make Mexico foot the bill.

Given that the tycoon was being so uncharacteristically shy, GlobalPost decided to ask a couple of Mexican experts how Trump might make their government pay for his border wall.

“There are just no treaties or other legal instruments that he could use to force Mexico to pay,” says Homero Campa, a journalist at Mexico’s leading news magazine Proceso.

Instead, President Trump, were he elected to the White House, would have to rely on diplomacy and making nice to the Mexicans.

The trouble is that after deriding Mexican immigrants to the U.S. as “rapists,” drug dealers, and, generally, the dregs of humanity, it’s hard to think of another player in U.S. politics with less capital in Mexico right now. 

Even Jeb Bush, with his Spanish skills and Mexican wife, Campa believes, would be unable get Mexico to hand over a single peso for such a controversial project, which most Mexicans see as a national affront.

In case that wasn’t clear enough, Pía Taracena, an international relations professor at Mexico City’s IberoAmericana University, adds that on a scale of zero to 10, Trump’s chances of getting Mexican cash for the border wall are zero.

“No Mexican government, whatever the party, would acquiesce to a demand like that. It is a question of national pride. The only way would be if the U.S. launched a military invasion of Mexico, and I presume he [Trump] is not proposing that.”

“He is a populist with a lot of money who is used to giving orders and being the center of attention. He doesn’t appear to understand that international relations require dialogue and an ability to listen.”

Adds Campa: “In Mexico, no one takes Trump seriously. I don’t think he’ll even be the Republicans’ candidate but, even if he did become president, I don’t see how he could oblige Mexico to pay for the wall.”

“These kind of statements are made for the benefit of the media. They are campaign promises aimed at the credulous. They are pretty ridiculous and even most Republicans understand they need a candidate who is attractive to Latino voters.”

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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