Mexican consulate general in LA says country won't pay for border wall

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As President Donald Trump doubles down on his campaign promise to build a wall, the Mexican consulate general in Los Angeles said the country will not pay for it.

Mexican government officials repeated their message to Trump, including Consul General Carlos Garcia de Alba. He explains that while officials respect Trump's right to build the wall, the proposed 2,000-mile long barrier will not be paid for by Mexico. The wall is estimated to cost as much as $14 billion.

"The problem of immigration won't be fixed (by) building a wall," he said.

Garcia de Alba reiterates immigration into the U.S. from Mexico has been steadily declining since 2008, and requests for dual citizenship is up 20 percent.

He adds that some of the president's other plans to fight immigration, such as amending the existing undocumented migrant catch-and-release policy to a catch, detain and deport policy, will be difficult to implement.

There is also a growing and deep concern at Mexican consulates all over the country over a rise in hate crimes against Latinos. Garcia de Alba cited a Pew Research study that found about 800 hate crimes have been reported in the last year.

"It's something that we need to reject. We need absolutely to go against it. That's a main concern - that all of these kinds of speech, for whatever reason, whoever speaks about hate, has to be stopped," he said.

Despite that, it's clear Mexican government officials are interested in building a relationship with the Trump administration.

This week, three high-ranking Mexican officials are meeting with Trump's advisors in advance of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's visit next week. One of the main topics in those talks is revisiting NAFTA to benefit the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

"We need to understand that we all belong to the same part of the world, to the same neighborhood," he said. "Mexico, the U.S. and Canada - we need to speak about the whole region, North America. Mexico is part of North America. We all, the three countries, belong to the same region, and we all need to make this the most competitive region in the world."
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