We had wondered how Donald Trump would get Mexico to pay for the wall along the border to keep out illegal immigrants. Trump, who will be meeting with the President of Mexico next week, has released his plan.
He will tell Mexican officials that unless they pay $5-10 billion for the wall, he will cut off the money that immigrants send home. That comes to around $25 billion, and is crucial to the Mexican economy. If Mexico gives that one-time payment, he says, the cash could continue “to flow into their country year after year.”
Set aside, for a moment, the element of extortion and theft. Set aside the question of whether the government should have the right to confiscate people’s money or control what they do with it. Also set aside the enormous increase in the power of the presidency necessary to suspend the law so that he could do this by executive order.
I thought Trump was going to send back all of the illegal immigrants! How could their payments “flow into their country year after year”? If the immigrants will all be gone, as Trump promised, what will be the incentive for Mexico to pony up the money? It almost sounds as if Trump hasn’t been telling the truth about his immigration policy.
From Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Trump reveals how he would force Mexico to pay for border wall – The Washington Post:
Donald Trump says he would force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key regional ally.
In a two-page memo to The Washington Post, Trump outlined for the first time how he would seek to force Mexico to pay for his 1,000-mile border fence, which Trump has made a cornerstone of his presidential campaign and which has been repeatedly scoffed at by current and former Mexican leaders.
The proposal would jeopardize a stream of cash that many economists say is vital for Mexico’s struggling economy. But the feasibility of Trump’s plan is unclear both legally and politically, and it would test the bounds of a president’s executive powers in seeking to pressure another country.
In the memo, Trump said he would threaten to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act antiterrorism law to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, commonly known as remittances. The threat would be withdrawn if Mexico made “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to pay for the border wall, he wrote. . . .
After the wall was funded, Trump wrote, transfer payments could continue “to flow into their country year after year.” He gave the memo to The Post in response to a written question provided to him before an interview last week.
Nearly $25 billion was sent home by Mexicans living abroad in 2015, mostly in the form of money transfers, according to the Mexican central bank. In his memo, Trump said that “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.”
But that figure includes cash from around the world, not just the United States. In addition, a Government Accountability Office report in January said it is difficult to track how much money Mexican immigrants working illegally in the United States are sending vs. money sent by those working legally.
Another complication in Trump’s remittance proposal is that he also wants to deport all 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, many of whom come from Mexico.