Running for reelection four years later, the President is now declaring at his rallies that Mexico is indeed paying for the wall.
“And as I said, Mexico is paying for the wall,” he added at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.
Facts First: This is a lie. Mexico hasn’t contributed any money toward the construction of the border wall. The wall is being funded by the US government.
“It is, so far, all American taxpayers’ money,” said Tony Payan, director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
“As far as I know, there is no basis for President Trump’s comments that Mexico will pay for the wall, period,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration practice at Cornell Law School. “They have not in the past, and I have not seen anything to indicate a change in the future.”
As of September 18, 331 miles of wall had been built under Trump, according to the official update. Of those, nine miles had been built where no primary barriers existed before; 295 miles had been built in place of old barriers the government says were “dilapidated and/or outdated”; 27 miles were new “secondary wall” to reinforce primary barriers.
Still, Trump’s wall is a physical project that costs billions of dollars. And that money is coming from Americans.
Trump has sometimes made additional false claims about how the wall is being funded.
Moments after he claimed at the Monday rally that Mexico is paying for the wall, Trump said, “We’re putting a border tax on for cars and trucks that go across. It’ll much more than pay for our wall. Starting soon.” He said the same at the Tuesday rally: “You know, we’re putting a charge on where the cars go through. And it’ll more than pay for the wall.”
“I haven’t heard any concrete proposals for a border tax to pay for the wall,” Andrew Selee, the president of the Migration Policy Institute think tank, said in an email. “It may just be the kind of campaign rhetoric that always springs up at election time, or maybe the President has a new proposal for a border tax in mind, but this doesn’t appear to have been a policy proposal from the White House or any agency that I know of.”
The White House declined to comment Tuesday on our request to explain how Mexico is paying for the wall or to provide any specifics about the supposed “border tax.” The Trump campaign did not respond to our request for comment.
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this article.