Donald Trump Will Cut Off Mexico's Ear Unless It Pays Him One MILLION Dollars

Actual wall will be built even more bigly

Donald Trump is making what sounds like new news to everyone with his exciting plan to pay for the Mexico Border Wall by seizing remittances sent by immigrants to their families in their home countries -- presumably whether those families are in Mexico or not. It sounds like a new explanation, except it's been lurking, largely unmentioned, in the idiotic "position paper" on immigration Trump released last August. All that's changed is that he's decided to talk about it and add some details. Hell, Trump probably forgot all about the position paper until some sharp campaign intern reminded him about it.

The "proposal," such as it is, gets a hasty mention immediately following a scary paragraph about all the "tens of thousands of violent beatings, rapes and murders" committed by immigrants:

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to make billions on not only our bad trade deals but also relies heavily on the billions of dollars in remittances sent from illegal immigrants in the United States back to Mexico ($22 billion in 2013 alone) [...]

Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages...

Like all serious documents on international policy, it links to a Fox News story.

Now, to be fair, the two-page memo Trump recently sent to the Washington Post goes into a little more detail about how he'd like to accomplish all that. In his big huge legally dubious plan, Trump says he would cut off those remittances by changing a rule in the USA Patriot Act; the remittances could be restored once Mexico pays a ransom sufficient to built the thousand-mile border wall, a “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion.” Piece of cake! Or bowl of flan, or whatever those people eat.

Trump's memo says Mexico receives "$24 billion a year from Mexican nationals working in the United States" and claims the "majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens. It serves as de facto welfare for poor families in Mexico."

Yes, you read that right: If someone's immigration status is wrong, their wages constitute "welfare" somehow. No, we don't pretend to see the logic there, either.

In any case, the Washington Post notes that Trump is dead wrong, not that this is news:

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 that it is difficult to track how much money illegal Mexican immigrants are sending versus those working legally in the United States.

Hey, if they're Mexican, they're illegal, aren't they?

[wonkbar]a href=""[/wonkbar]In addition to the remittance blackmail, the memo rehashes a number of other ideas from the August policy paper: limiting visas for Mexican tourists and business travelers, just for the hell of it, until Mexico pays for the wall; increasing fees on visas, for border crossings, and for all we know imposing a tax on everyone who watches telenovelas. Oh, and maybe we can encourage American drunks to beat up more Latinos. That'll learn 'em.

Beyond the threat of holding Mexico's economy hostage to extort money for an American construction project, there are one or two other teensy details that Trump hasn't thought through. For one thing, it's dubious whether the anti-terrorism provisions of the Patriot Act can be stretched to cover non-terrorists' money transfers, and then there's the matter of how this proposal (which will never happen anyway) would affect normal, legal international money transfers for business and banking. Much of what Trump wants to do can't simply be put in place by an executive order on Day One. For instance, the memo calls for "a requirement that no alien may wire money outside the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States" -- essentially, Trump wants to deputize Western Union into the Border Patrol. Also, considering that illegal immigrants come from all over the world, it's unclear how Mexico would be pressured by blocking remittances from undocumented Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Filipinos, Chinese, or Koreans (after Mexico, those are the top countries of origin of undocumented migrants).

But these are minor details, as are just about any other laws or Constitutional provisions that make America weak. Donald Trump will make America great again, and if some poor foreigners have to lose the wages -- sorry, "welfare" -- they rely on, then they should have thought of that before they let a family member go north. Or wherever. Still, it's a beautiful plan, and it will work, just trust him. If nothing else, he can probably get Mexico to pay for the wall by sending Mexico's president an email pretending to be from the Nigerian finance minister, promising him a cut of the $10 billion he wants to sneak out of the country.

[WaPo via Joe.My.God. / Trump For Philosopher-King / WaPo Trump memo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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