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Q&A: Trump still says he'll make Mexico pay for his border wall, but can he really?

Kate Linthicum and Kurtis Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

MEXICO CITY -- It's by now a predictable pattern.

Every few days, President-elect Donald Trump repeats his threat to build a massive border wall -- and force Mexico to pay for it.

And each time, Mexican leaders respond the same way.

"Neither today, nor tomorrow nor never Mexico will pay for that stupid wall. If Trump wants a monument to his ego, let him pay for it!!" former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted on Wednesday shortly after Trump made the border claim again at a news conference.

"There is no way," Luis Videgaray, Mexico's new foreign secretary, said this week. For Mexico, he said, the wall issue is "a matter of national dignity and sovereignty."

Trump has vowed to begin construction on the wall soon after his Jan. 20 inauguration. He plans to press Congress to fund the project and then find ways to have Mexico reimburse those costs later.

The caustic back and forth between Trump and top Mexican officials, which along with fears of a trade war has sent the value of the peso plunging, raises the question: Can Trump really force Mexico to pay for the wall?

The Los Angeles Times talked to several experts about that -- as well as what Trump's threats against Mexico could mean for the economies of both countries.

Q: Will Trump be able to persuade Mexico to pay for the wall?

A: "The Mexican government isn't willing to pay for the wall in any way," said Alfredo Coutino, Latin America director for Moody's Analytics.

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