Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced April 5 that he will force Mexico to pay for his 1,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border wall by blocking billions of dollars that immigrants in the U.S. send to their families and loved ones in Mexico.
In a two-page memo to the Washington Post, the GOP front-runner said that he would change a rule under the USA Patriot Act to block remittances sent to Mexico via money transfers.
Trump said he would only lift the ban if Mexico makes “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to pay for his new wall.
The USA Patriot Act was originally signed by President Bush following 9/11 to protect the U.S. from terrorism.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” Trump said in the memo.
After the wall goes up, according to Trump, the remittances would continue “to flow into their country year after year.”
About $25 billion was sent by Mexicans to Mexico in 2015, mostly via money transfers, according to numbers by the Mexican central bank.
Trump insisted that “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.”
However, the $25 billion estimate includes cash transfers from around the world to Mexico, notes the newspaper.
Trump also proposed in the memo, entitled “Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall," that he might increase trade tariffs, cancel visas and invoke higher fees for border-crossing cards.
President Barrack Obama was asked about Trump's proposals during a press conference April 5, reports RawStory.com, and said:
I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made. I do have to emphasize that it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals.
You are also hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz’s proposals, which in some ways are just as Draconian, when it comes to immigration for example.
The implications with respect to ending remittances -- many of which, by the way, are from legal immigrants and from individuals who are sending money back to their families -- are enormous.
First of all, they’re impractical. We just talked about the difficulties of trying to enforce huge outflows of capital.
The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico, you know, good luck with that.
Then we’ve got the implications for the Mexican economy, which in turn, if it’s collapsing actually sends more immigrants north because they can’t find jobs back in Mexico.
But this is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption.