Mexican president selling his ‘luxurious presidential plane’ to pay for US immigration deal

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he plans to pay for the U.S.-Mexico immigration deal by selling his presidential plane.

“About how much this plan is going to cost, let me say, we have the budget,” López Obrador said at a Wednesday press conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. “It would come out of what we’re going to receive from the sale of the luxurious presidential plane.”

The Mexican president said he expects the plane to sell for at least $150 million and that the country would also sell off other aircraft to pay for the deal.

During his election campaign in 2018, López Obrador promised he would be selling the presidential airplane, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, and use the funds to help Mexico’s poor.

“I will not get on the presidential plane. I would be embarrassed. My face would be filled with shame if I board such a luxurious plane in a country with so much poverty,” the Mexican president said last September on Twitter.

The Mexican government bought the plane in 2012 for $368 million, the most expensive airplane at the time. A government study found they would lose a significant amount of money on the resale of the plane.

The luxury airplane included amenities such as an extensive presidential suite, seven meeting rooms, plush leather seating with a capacity to seat 250 passengers, and a marble-lined bathroom.

López Obrador promised the Mexican people last year that they would be “kept informed” of how the money from the airplanes sale would be used. The Mexican government announced at the time that they would be selling over 100 aircraft along with the presidential airplane.

The Mexican president’s Wednesday announcement that the proceeds would go towards controlling illegal immigration comes after Trump said Tuesday that he would let Mexico be the ones to release the details of the new immigration deal.

“You would freeze-action it, you would stop it, you would analyze it,” Trump said, refusing to release the deal. “I’m going to let Mexico do the announcement at the right time.”

Ebrard said at the press conference that his country had started its deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to Mexico’s southern border shared with Guatemala.

“Starting from today, and in the coming days, the deployment is going to progress rapidly,” Ebrard said.

The deal struck Friday means Mexico will not face the 5% tariffs on goods imported to the U.S. that Trump had promised to impose if the country did not deal with illegal immigration.

Ebrard said that the agreement included a 45-day timeline to show they were doing more to police illegal immigration.

“A lot of things have to happen in 45 days,” Ebrard said. “We are going to do what we said we are going to do.”

Mexico is planning on releasing more details Friday of how they plan to enforce the deal.

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