Mexico cancels U.S. meeting following Trump executive order on border wall

A scheduled meeting between American and Mexican leaders was canceled amid political firestorm Thursday, as President Enrique Peña Nieto didn’t take lightly news of an executive order to build a wall along his border with the U.S.

Following President Donald Trump’s signing of the action Wednesday, Mexico’s president sent out a televised national address Thursday morning declaring his country would not pay for the wall and he would not be visiting the White House as planned.

In response, Trump attacked Mexico in a tweet, blaming it for America’s $60 billion trade deficit with the southern nation. The U.S. trade goods deficit was estimated at 58 billion in 2015, according to the Office of U.S. Trade.

Citing a “crisis on our southern border,” Trump signed a pair of executive orders that will make good on one of his most publicized campaign promises. The wall — or fence in some sections, as Trump has promised — will run the length of the 1,989-mile southern border of the United States. That order doesn’t fund the wall, however, and Trump has promised that Mexico will pay for it. As part of the order, the White House also plans to hire 5,000 more border agents and build more facilities along the border to hold immigrants while they’re being processed and deported.

The second executive order signed Wednesday by the president aims to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, which offer safe harbor to those living in the U.S. illegally.

“For years, the media has largely ignored the stories of Americans and lawful residents victimized by open borders,” said Trump at an event announcing the orders Wednesday. “First, these families lost their loved ones. Then they endured a system that ignored them, while at the same time constantly rewarding those who broke the law. For these families, it’s been one injustice after another. But that all turns around, beginning today.”

Trump named several parents of people who were “horribly killed by individuals living here illegally.” He read the names of five parents and asked them to stand.

One of them, 18-year-old Joshua Wilkerson, was tortured and murdered in 2010, according to the Houston Chronicle. His mother, Laura Wilkerson, has spoken out against sanctuary cities and testified before Congress on the matter.

Trump is framing the border wall as a safety issue, but research shows most immigrants are law-abiding. Still, the administration has promised to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with with respect to such aliens,” according to the language of the sanctuary city order.

Additional reporting by editor Jared Morgan