The night before he canceled his planned meeting with President Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto delivered a fiery address in which said once again that his country will never pay for a wall on its northern border, adding that “Mexico offers and demands respect.”
Peña Nieto’s nationally televised remarks were delivered a few hours after Trump signed executive orders to crack down on illegal immigration and to begin construction of the wall. In his remarks, Peña Nieto said, “Mexico’s 50 consulates in the United States will become true ramparts in defense of migrant rights.”
Trump has said again and again that Mexico will pay for its construction, and just as often Peña Nieto has said Mexico will not. The two leaders had been scheduled to meet in Washington on Jan. 31, but Pena Nieto canceled the meeting Thursday.
Here is the full text of Peña Nieto’s speech Wednesday night.
Today, the president of the United States signed two executive orders relevant to our country: one to implement new immigration measures and another one to extend the border wall.
In response, I have ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reinforce measures to protect our fellow citizens.
Mexico’s 50 consulates in the United States will become true ramparts in defense of migrant rights.
Our communities are not alone. The Mexican government will offer them legal advice to guarantee the protection they require.
I call on legislators and civil society to join me in working to support and stand by our fellow citizens.
Wherever a Mexican migrant is at risk and needs our help, we must be there... his or her country must be there.
I am dismayed by and condemn the decision made by the United States to continue building a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us.
Mexico does not believe in walls.
I have said it again and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall.
These executive orders also come at a time when our country is initiating talks to negotiate the new rules for cooperation, trade, investment, security, and migration within the North American region.
This negotiation is very important for the strength, certainty, and future of our economy and society.
As the president of Mexico, I fully assume responsibility to defend and to look after the interests of Mexico and the Mexican people.
It is my duty to confront problems and meet challenges head on.
On the basis of the final report from the Mexican officials who are currently in Washington, and after consultation with representatives of the Senate and the National Conference of Governors, I will make choices about the next steps to take.
Mexico offers and demands respect, as the fully sovereign nation that we are.
Mexico reaffirms its friendship with the American people and our willingness to reach agreements with their government, agreements for the benefit of Mexico and of the Mexican people.