Trump Still Says Mexico Will Pay For The Border Wall. Is That True?

President Trump is insisting that the federal budget include funding for the border wall. But he's also still claiming that Mexico will pay for it.
Posted at 11:16 AM, Jan 11, 2019

President Trump won't sign a budget bill that doesn't include $5.7 billion to build part of a wall along the southern border, but he still says Mexico is paying for it. 

"In fact, what we save on the USMCA — the new trade deal we have with Mexico and Canada — what we save on that, just with Mexico, will pay for the wall many times over just in a period of a year, two years, and three years. So I view that as, absolutely, Mexico is paying for the wall. And that's fine," President Trump said. 

So the president is trying to make the case that the U.S. will benefit financially from that new trade deal at Mexico's expense, and that will pay for the wall.

But experts who spoke to PolitiFact say it doesn't work like that. The USMCA doesn't add any new tariffs on Mexican goods. And even if it did — and again, it doesn't —  the cost and benefit would go to private companies and citizens, not the government.

We're still awaiting an official assessment of USMCA's economic impact from the U.S. International Trade Commission. And we couldn't find any early estimates suggesting enough new benefits or savings to pay for the wall, even indirectly.

But perhaps the biggest snag for Trump's argument is the USMCA isn't a done deal yet. It still needs approval from Congress before it could go into effect. 

So, with the USMCA not yet in effect and no official assessment of the economic impact of the deal, the president's repeated claim that Mexico is still paying for the wall is unsubstantiated. 

This story is reported in partnership with PolitiFact and is part of an in-depth analysis show called "What The Fact" that airs Sunday mornings on Newsy.