Possibly the most over-used phrase in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory was that the media took him “literally, but not seriously”, whereas his supporters took him “seriously, but not literally”.
Today, the new US President proved that wrong: he’s literally building a Mexican border wall.
Trump has signed immigration actions to construct the thing, saying: “We’ve been talking about this right from the beginning.”
Signing the executive orders instructing construction of a wall on the southwest border makes good on his campaign promise to fight unauthorised immigration.
In a vague tweet posted Tuesday night, Trump hinted he would take his first action to enable the construction of a wall.
Trump’s plans to kick out immigrants would require cooperation from Mexico, and he is scheduled to meet with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray this week, and meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday. Nieto has rejected Trump’s claims that Mexico will pay for a border wall.
“Beginning today the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump declared during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. “We are going to save lives on both sides of the border.”
With the families of Americans killed by people living in the U.S. illegally sitting in the audience, Trump said, “When it comes to public safety, there is no place for politics.”
In an interview with ABC News earlier, Trump said of funding: “There will be a payment; it will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”
Anti-immigrant rhetoric was was the hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign. He received a backlash after suggesting Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, and in December 2015, he called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Trump is also preparing to issue an executive order restricting refugee admissions to the U.S. and denying visas to individuals from countries his administration deems high-risk. Trump is currently giving a speech outlining his plans.