President Donald Trump on Friday said he would not tear up the border wall with Mexico, despite calls for his removal from the White House amid the deadly surge of migrants at the southern border.
Trump said he had already been told by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that Mexico would pay for a new fence along the southern U.S.-Mexico border, and he did not want to start a new debate on the issue.
“It’s a great, great wall.
The president said he’d get Mexico to pay for it,” Trump told reporters at the White Tower.
“I’m not going to start that debate.”
The president said the wall was being built with $7 billion in taxpayer money and that he would get Mexico “to pay for” it.
Kelly told reporters earlier Friday that Mexico had asked the U.N. for a $1.6 billion grant to help pay for the border fence, but Trump did not say whether that money was coming from Mexico.
Kelly said he told Trump that the United States would not get reimbursed for any of the cost of the border barrier, but that he did believe that Mexico was trying to get the United Kingdom to pay.
“I believe that this is something that has been discussed for a long time.
We want to work it out,” Kelly said.
“If the United Nations wants to come and work it, fine.
If they want to go and start it, then fine.”
Kelly said the border had been breached twice in less than two weeks, and that the president’s response to the crisis had been “absolutely extraordinary.”
“We have had an extraordinary level of border activity and it is a matter of concern for me that we’ve had an increase in the number of people that have been apprehended, but they’re being released,” Kelly told reporters.
“We are doing everything we can to stop it.
We have done everything that we can.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.