In a press conference Friday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, President Obama shut down Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall across the southern U.S. border.
“Let me start by saying something that is too often overlooked, but bears repeating, especially given some of the heated rhetoric we sometimes hear,” Obama said. “The United States values tremendously our enduring partnership with Mexico and our extraordinary ties of family and friendship with the American people.”
Since the real estate mogul began his campaign for presidency, he has continually pledged to halt illegal immigration and deport millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country, many of them Mexican. During his acceptance speech for the republican party nomination for presidency Thursday night he reiterated it once again saying, “We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.”
Trump has also continually said that he would make Mexico pay for the wall, estimating that it would cost between $5 to $10 billion, as recently reported by the Defender.
POTUS went on to note that the “benefit of a cooperative… and healthy Mexico,” is what would help the country build stability and security.
“That’s going to do a lot more to solve any migration crisis or drug trafficking problem than a wall, and it’ll be much more reflective of the kind of relationship we should have with our neighbors,” Obama said.
The POTUS also emphasized that Mexico is a “critical partner” for the country on numerous issues, including shared security and climate change. “Mexico is critically important to our own well-being,” he said. “We are not just strategic and economic partners. We are also neighbors, and we’re friends, and we’re family — including millions of Americans that are tied to Mexico by culture and by language. And that’s why as president, I worked to deepen the partnership between our nations.”
At the conference, Pena Nieto echoed Obama’s sentiments about working together, adding that the next U.S. president would “find in Mexico and its government a constructive attitude” no matter who is elected.
“It is the American people who have to decide who the next male or female president will be,” he said. “I have expressed absolute respect for this process.”