President-elect Donald Trump continues to insist that Mexico isgoing to pay for a border wall on America’s southern border, buthow is it going to happen?
During his press conference Wednesday, Trump was asked howMexico would pay for the wall, and said that the country “in someform” will “reimburse” the U.S. for the cost of the wall.
“That will happen. Whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment— probably less likely that it’s a payment — but it will happen,”Trump said.
Forcing Mexico to pay for a wall on its northern border has beena staple of President-elect Trump’s platform since he announced hisrun for the presidency in June 2015.
He was vague about how this would be accomplished, just that hewould force Mexico to pay for it as they have made a “fortune” offthe United States. Then in April, Trump sent a memo to TheWashington Post which specifically laid out how he would forceMexico to pay for the wall.
The key facet of this plan was that on “day 1” in office hewould use a provision of the Patriot Act to cut off the flow ofbillions of dollars that immigrants send back home to Mexico. Hismemo said that on “day 2,” Mexico “will immediately protest.” Thenon “day 3,” the Trump administration will tell Mexico that theywill undo the rule change if the Mexican government contributes“$_billion” to pay for the wall.
But now the plan is that Mexico will reimburse the United Statesfor the wall after it is built. Trump said at the press conference,“What’s the difference? I want to get the wall started. I don’twant to wait a year and a half until I make my deal withMexico.”
The president-elect said that since Mexico has been “so nice,”that there will probably be a deal done before that happens. WhileMexican leaders have shown a willingness to renegotiate NAFTA, therehas been a hard “no” regarding paying for the border wall.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Wednesday that “ofcourse” Mexico won’t pay for the wall. This is asentiment that has been repeated by his foreign minister andthe president of Mexico’s senate. It is not only a matter ofdignity for Mexican politicians, but according to Alfredo Coutiño, LatinAmerica director for Moody’s Analytics, Mexico doesn’t have themoney to pay for it.
Mexico’s economy has been struggling, and Peña Nieto, whosuffers from low approval ratings, doesn’t have much to gain fromforking over billions of dollars to the United States.
President-elect Trump also seems to be alone in his effort toget Mexico to pay for a border wall, as Republican congressmenand anti-immigration groups have not been supportive of themeasure.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for ImmigrationStudies, told The Daily Caller, “The Mexican government isn’t goingto pay for the wall, and making an issue of it is not helpful inour relations with them.”
“But taxing remittances — especially the way Oklahoma does it,which targets mainly illegal aliens, most of whom are Mexican — isa kind of poetic justice,” Kirkorian added.
Anti-immigration group NumbersUSA has remained silenton this issue and did not return a request for comment.
Republican Texas Rep. Brian Babin is usually willing to discusshis anti-immigration proposals with The Daily Caller, such ascutting federal funds to “sanctuary campuses,” but his officewouldn’t return a request for comment about whether he supportsmaking Mexico pay for a border wall.
Another Texas Republican Rep., Louie Gohmert, who has votedagainst amnesty for illegal immigrants, said in an interview that Congress has the fundsto pay for a border wall. He did not mention the possibility ofmoney coming from America’s southern neighbor.
Trump’s April proposal to force Mexico to pay for the borderwall also contained other ideas such as cutting off visas tillMexico forks over the money, increasing trade tariffsand raising visa fees. Raising visa fees would be makingMexican citizens pay for it, and cutting off visas until Mexicopays like the remittances plan is unlikely due to Mexico’seconomy.
Getting reimbursement for the wall from trade tariffs could bedone, but as the wall is estimated to cost around $20 billion andthe U.S. has a nearly $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico, itwould require a massive hike in tariffs.