Mexico Assembles Team for All-Out Legal Assault on Border Wall

Mark Browne | April 27, 2017 | 7:18pm EDT
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Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, second from left, addresses members of the congressional foreign relations committee this week. (Photo: Foreign Relations Secretariat)

Mexico City ( – Mexico’s foreign secretary is planning an all-out legal assault on any future construction of a border wall by the U.S., to include filing suits in U.S. and international courts over possible environmental, human rights and international treaty violations.

Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray told congressional leaders here that Mexico will neither pay for nor cooperate with the wall proposed by the Trump administration, under any circumstances.

He called the wall proposal a “profoundly unfriendly” and “hostile” act.

“We won’t contribute in any manner, directly or indirectly or financially or in any other form to the continuation of a construction of a wall or any other type of physical barrier between our two countries,” Videgaray told members of the congressional foreign relations committee.

He said his office has assigned “significant human resources” to assemble a plan to fight the wall on every single possible violation of international treaties.

If the U.S., in the process of building a wall, violates any treaties including environmental treaties, Videgaray said Mexico would exercise it’s legal rights to the maximum, including filing suits in U.S. and international courts.

He cited specifically treaties pertaining to the Rio Grande and the Colorado River.

Videgaray listed potential rights violations the construction of a wall might entail, including private property, cultural, human, and anti-discrimination rights.

His remarks contained additional warnings about future bilateral relations.

Any attempt by the U.S. to tax remittances sent home by Mexicans in the U.S. would threaten negotiations on any other matters, Videgaray said.

“Remittances are not only a flow of foreign exchange from the macroeconomic point of view, but as we all know it is a fundamental support for many families, particularly low-income families,” he said, adding that a tax on the payments would be a “breaking point in any dialogue on other issues.”

In response to lawmakers’ questions, Videgaray confirmed that the idea of requiring American tourists to obtain a visa to enter Mexico merits consideration. No visa is currently required.

He warned, however, that a visa requirement could harm Mexico’s tourism industry.

Instead, Videgaray promised his office would explore the idea of charging an entry fee instead.

He said Mexico will continue to follow through on bilateral cooperation agreements with the U.S., including security cooperation, but will not enter into any new agreements for the time being.

If negotiations with the U.S. on migration, border and commerce issues were not dealt with satisfactorily for Mexico, however, all existing bilateral cooperation will be reviewed.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney confirmed this week that President Trump would sign a spending bill – needed to fund the federal government through September and avoid a shutdown at the end of this week – that does not include funds for the wall. White

House press secretary Sean Spicer maintained that the president’s priorities on the matter have not changed, and in a Tuesday tweet, Trump repeated his promise to build the wall.

“Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL,” he said. “It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.”

Glenn Johnson, founder of the 15-year-old Arizona group American Border Patrol, told that money to repair existing fencing along the border is badly needed.

Spencer, who owns a ranch on the border near the town of Herford, said he prefers fencing to a wall, as a concrete wall would make it harder to see people trying to scale the barrier from the Mexican side.

“A well is opaque. You cannot see through it. It is a bad idea to build a 30-foot concrete wall that you can’t see through it,” he said. “What is to stop people on the other side from building scaffolding on that wall?”

Johnson said Trump should complete work authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 signed by President George W. Bush.

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