U.S. President Donald Trump is to order the building of a wall along the Mexican border on Wednesday, fulfilling one of his key campaign pledges, the White House has said.
Mr. Trump said that construction would begin in “months” and stresses Mexico would pay for the project.
Asked in an interview with ABC News about how the wall would be financed, Mr. Trump said U.S. tax dollars would be used to begin the construction but that Mexico would ultimately reimburse Washington.
“Ultimately, it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico, and we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico,’’ he said.
The newly inaugurated president would sign two executive orders on immigration and security issues during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.
The first would enable the construction of “a large physical barrier on the southern border,” spokesman Sean Spicer said.
The measure would also bolster resources for border security agents, increase detention space for illegal immigrants and ensure people were deported.
The second executive order would address law enforcement surrounding unauthorised immigrants, including stripping federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” and states which had vowed not to enforce U.S immigration laws.
The orders are set to coincide with a visit by Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who is preparing the ground for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s visit next week.
It was unclear if Mexico knew in advance of the plans.
Mr. Trump insisted repeatedly during his campaign that he would build a “big, beautiful wall” along the border to stop illegal immigration and force Mexico to pay for it in spite of Mexico’s rejection of the plan.
Videgaray has previously been burnt by his association with Trump, having organised the then Republican candidate’s visit to Mexico during the presidential campaign.
The invitation infuriated Mexicans, and Videgaray, then finance minister, was forced to step down, though he was later reinstated to the cabinet following Trump’s victory.