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Trump promises Mexico will 'pay back' U.S. for border wall

Congressional Republicans are crafting plans to fund the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which authorized President George W. Bush to construct a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico.

By Stephen Feller and Eric DuVall
Trump promises Mexico will 'pay back' U.S. for border wall
President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are working with members of Congress to fund the 2006 Secure Fence Act, a law signed by President George W. Bush to build 850 miles of double-layer fencing along the border between the United States and Mexico. While Trump made the construction of a wall a center piece of his campaign for president, funding the project using tax dollars is a departure from his oft-repeated suggestion he would get Mexico to pay for it. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump on Friday said that while U.S. taxpayers might have to initially pay for a wall on the southern border for the sake of expediency, Mexico would be made to pay the money back.

Trump tweeted about the wall early Friday after reports Thursday by CNN and Politico that he is preparing to seek funding for the wall from the Republican Congress,. It is a potential reversal of a detailed campaign plan for how to force Mexico to hand over billions of dollars for a border wall -- something the Mexican government has said repeatedly it will not do.

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"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 said Friday morning on Twitter.

Now, according to the reports, the Trump transition team and Congressional Republicans {link:are weighing options to fund the 2006 Secure Fence Act, most likely through an appropriations bill that must be passed by April. The bill would allow the incoming administration to build the wall without new legislation.

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By including funding for the 2006 border bill in a larger appropriations bill needed to keep the entire federal government funded, it would force Democrats to shut down the government in order to block the money.

Initially, however, Trump proposed a set of steps he said could be undertaken starting on his first day in office that would force the Mexican government to hand over the money. The plan, which is still listed on Trump's website, includes blocking Mexicans living in the United States from sending cash wire transfers back home. Such a move, Trump said during the campaign, would starve the Mexican economy of some $24 billion annually, more than what it would cost to build the wall. He also threatened to place tariffs on Mexican goods entering the United States as another way to raise the money.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Friday morning on CNN that Trump is not backing off his pledge to have Mexico pay for the wall, but that Congress is exploring options to make the process more "speedy."

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