Cash seized from Mexican drug cartels may reportedly fund the wall that presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to build at the U.S southern border.
The asset-seizure approach could potentially give both countries a face-saving, win-win way to resolve what could be an awkward impasse over a funding system for border wall construction should Trump become president after the November 8, U.S. general election.
The GOP nominee met with President Enrique Pena Nieto yesterday in Mexico City after which he delivered a nationally televised speech on immigration from Phoenix.
Although Trump claimed that he and the president did not discuss who would pay for the wall during what appears to have been a cordial, private meeting, Pena Nieto subsequently issued a tweet indicating that he told Trump face to face that Mexico would not pay for it, CNN noted.
During the joint press conference after the one-hour sitdown, both men, among other things, stressed the importance of working together to secure the 2,000-mile border to prevent drug, weapons, and currency smuggling and human trafficking. “We all share a common interest in keeping our hemisphere safe, prosperous, and free,” Trump remarked.
“To fund construction of a new U.S. border wall, Donald Trump and senior advisers are considering various ideas, including the use of assets seized from drug cartels and others in the illicit drug trade…A graceful, mutually acceptable solution to the contentious issue of funding a border wall is possible — contrary to what various media outlets are reporting, another source insists…The plan could involve the creation of a ‘joint border security fund,’ where assets seized by law enforcement in both nations are deposited, then deployed for construction and maintenance of the border structure to the benefit of both Mexico and the United States.”
In fiscal year 2015, U.S. law enforcement reportedly seized nearly $9 billion in assets from the cartels.
To implement a mechanism for using cartel cash to build the wall, “It is likely that the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic shackles placed upon the FBI will be removed, as it is common knowledge that the State Department pressures the FBI to balance their law enforcement priorities with diplomatic concerns,” Breitbart News claimed.
On his website, Donald Trump has previously floated some ways for Mexico to pay for the wall that include impounding “all remittance payments derived from illegal wage,” increasing fees on temporary and working visas and border crossing cards, and imposing tariffs on goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico.
A story in the New York Times today asserts that irrespective of a wall at the Mexican border, drug smugglers are becoming more and more crafty with underground tunnels into the U.S.
In his Phoenix address last night, Trump reaffirmed that Mexico will pay for the wall and seemed to acknowledged that the tunnel issue will also be addressed in the process, the Los Angeles Times transcript detailed.
“We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall. One hundred percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for it. And they’re great people and great leaders but they’re going to pay for the wall. On day one, we will begin working on intangible, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall. We will use the best technology, including above and below ground sensors that’s the tunnels. Remember that, above and below..Mexico will work with us. I absolutely believe it. And especially after meeting with their wonderful, wonderful president today. I really believe they want to solve this problem along with us, and I’m sure they will…”
In a phone interview on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor this evening, with Eric Bolling sitting in as guest host, Donald Trump declared that the wall will be built, Mexico will pay for the wall with the specific arrangement to accomplish that subject to future negotiations, and that there are many ways Mexico can pay for it, adding that the U.S. has a “massive trade deficit with Mexico that makes the cost of the wall pale by comparison.”
[Photo by Dario Lopez-Mills/AP Images]