Juicy contracts or patriotic pride? That was the dilemma facing Mexican construction firms today as conservative lawmakers ramped up the pressure on companies tempted to help build US President Donald Trump's planned border wall. Senator Gabriela Cuevas of the opposition National Action Party was due to introduce a bill barring the government from doing business with any Mexican firm that participates in building the wall, a deeply reviled project in Mexico. "It's essential that government purchases, at all levels of government, exclude any kind of contract with any company that participates in building the wall," she told AFP. Cuevas, the head of the Senate foreign relations committee, said negotiations were also under way to amend existing laws on public works projects and government purchases to exert similar pressure. Trump's plan for a "big, beautiful" wall on the US-Mexican border -- a central campaign pledge -- could cost $21.6 billion, according to a Department of Homeland Security estimate. His insistence that Mexico pay for the wall, together with his attacks on Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists," have caused a diplomatic row between the two neighbors. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a White House visit over the wall issue in January.
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