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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Trump’s wall: Another doomed scheme?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Milwaukee Theatre Monday, April 4, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Milwaukee Theatre Monday, April 4, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Donald Trump would try to force Mexico to pay for a border wall by targeting billions of dollars in remittances sent by immigrants living in the U.S., according to a memo released by his campaign Tuesday.

The memo outlines in new detail how Trump would try to compel Mexico to pay for the 1,000-mile wall he’s promised to build along the Southern border if he becomes president.

In his proposal, Trump threatened to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law, to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers known as remittances. His plan would also bar non-Americans from wiring money outside of the U.S. unless they can provide documentation establishing their legal status in the country.

Trump said he would withdraw the threat if Mexico makes a one-time payment to finance the wall.

“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” the memo reads.

“Good luck with that,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday in response to questions about Trump’s proposal. He warned of the ramifications such a plan would have on the Mexican economy which, in turn, would drive more immigrants to cross the border in search of jobs.

“People expect the president of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account,” Obama said. “They don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House. We can’t afford that.”

The billionaire businessman has estimated his proposed wall would cost between $10 billion and $12 billion, and has argued that it would protect the country from illegal border crossings as well as halting drug shipment. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has said his country will not pay for any such wall.

The U.S. is home to about 12 million Mexicans, some living here illegally, according to various research organizations that monitor trends in immigration. They and other migrants use money transfer agents or banks to send money home, often with the objective of supporting their families.

The Mexican central bank reported that money sent home by Mexicans overseas hit nearly $24.8 billion last year, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income. Cutting off those transfers would therefore represent a significant blow to the Mexican economy.

The memo also lists other potential areas for leverage, including threats of trade tariffs, cancelling visas – including targeting “business and tourist visas for important people in the Mexican economy” – and increasing visa fees, including includes fees on border crossing cards.

The release of the memo was first reported by the Washington Post early Tuesday, the same day as the Wisconsin primary. Trump has been trailing rival Ted Cruz in the state in some recent opinion surveys.

This is not the first time that Trump has spelled out options for pressuring Mexico into paying for his signature policy proposal.

In an immigration overhaul plan released in August, Trump’s campaign suggested a number of options for compelling Mexico to pay for the wall. Those included impounding “all remittance payments derived from illegal wages,” increasing fees on temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats — “and if necessary cancel them” — increasing fees on border crossing cards, increasing fees on NAFTA worker visas from Mexico, and increasing fees at ports of entry between the two countries.

“Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options,” the immigration paper stated.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to questions, including whether he still envisions impounding any money. It is also unclear whether Trump would seek any input from Congress. He and other Republicans have long criticized Obama for relying too heavily on executive orders to ram through his agenda.

Under the Patriot Act, a government-issued identification is already required for routine money transfers in the United States. For high-dollar transactions additional documentation or identification can be required.

According to Matt Chandler, a former deputy chief of staff at the Homeland Security Department, financial institutions must know their customers and are required to routinely share information with the government to ensure that their banking services aren’t being used to launder money or fund terrorism.

Trump’s wall is his signature policy proposal – and mere mention of the word elicits booming cheers and applause at his rallies, where supporters sometimes dress in wall shirts and costumes. Trump often leads call-and-response sessions where he asks his audience who will pay for the wall.

“Mexico!” they thunder in response.

Colvin reported from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Mexico City, and Kathleen Hennessey, Alicia A. Caldwell, Deb Riechmann and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2016 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright  © 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

3 thoughts on “Trump’s wall: Another doomed scheme?”

  1. Immigration from Mexico is a problem so complex I won’t even discuss it how to solve it. Not that its complexity stops the Republicans from persuading millions of people that it represents an catastrophe of Armageddon proportions. And not that it is too complex for people to opine on solutions as if they spent years studying the root causes of it, and ramifications of various options to solving whatever problem it is. I remain unconvinced it is all that major a problem anyway. The idea it takes away jobs from legit citizens has long been debunked.

    As a domestic problem, it is nothing compared to climate change, income inequality, our should-be-humiliating crumbled education system and already crumbled infrastructure.

    As to the above comments: It is probably impossible to stop money transfers to Mexico, and also most likely illegal. Trump’s proposal in this regard are more of his uninformed ignorant rants.

    On criminals, you can’t just dump them across the border. They will just return. Plus, we have a justice system here that applies to citizens and non-citizens (except wealthy bankers).

    The best way to deal with those who commit crimes here is to legalize drug use, have more diversion programs, and thus empty space in our jails. Then illegal immigrants convicted of felonies in jail here where we know they won’t commit anymore crimes.

    As for the Trumptastic wall only the deluded think Mexico would ever pay for it, not even one peso: The money could far better be spent on other things. And if by some miracle it was built, aside from tunneling under it, something the Mexicans are good at), it would even be easier to climb over it using a grappling hook shot across the top with a DYI grappling hook launcher (Google it for instructions). An agile person would climb the wall, and then a rope ladder could be pulled up, and ¡Estupendo, up and over.

  2. Obama gets a certain amount of money from Congress to deport people. He’s trying to deport the criminals first, given their limited budget. If Congress allocated more funds for it, he could deport more. Would you prefer he deport fewer criminals?

  3. Foolishness. Trump does not need a physical wall. Start dumping all the illegals back into Mexico, and stop money transfers to mexico, the wall will not be necessary. All we need to do is enforce the present regulations. Obama sees fit to ignore them.

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