One of Trump’s goals during his tenure as president of United States is construct a wall along border of the country and Mexico. He intends to fund this project using appropriations. News has it that the new president already gave a go signal to his congressional Republican leaders to make this happen this coming April.
As people would recall, Trump previously announced that he wants Mexico to pay for establishing such wall along the border, thus suggesting for that another country should reimburse the US for implementing its own project.
In January 6, Trump tweeted that using appropriations was a matter of implementing the project immediately and that the money will be paid by Mexico in the future.
According to Rep. Chris Collins, though American taxpayers would should the construction of Trump’s wall, the president would surely take actions to negotiate with Mexico and reimburse the money. He adds that Trump would have leverage as Mexico’s economy greatly depends on US consumers. Thus, negotiating with Mexico should not be that difficult.
Trump’s team believe they have the power to build such wall, but apparently, they lack the funds to proceed with the project. A senior House GOP source said that transition officials voiced out their willingness to fund the wall through a bill.
Meanwhile, Indiana Republican Rep. Luke Messer claims that funding the authorization should being with achieving Trump’s campaign pledge. Messer realizes that a large sum of money will be spent but he emphasizes that it is just a matter of priorities. In fact, he uses as example the border security bill previously proposed by Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul. The bill was estimated to cost $10 billion.
On other hand, Democrats will have hard time opposing government projects, such as building of the wall.
As for Mexico, its leaders are firm on their stand in not paying for the wall.
When Mexico foregoes paying for the wall, GOP can mean expanding the spending bill to billions of dollars before it is passed on April 28. However, such scenario would cause an uproar in Senate Democrats and can lead to government shutdown.
However, Republicans claim that Democrats should support funding the walls since they voted for the 2006 bill in the persons of Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana refused to make any comments whether the Congress is willing to pay for the wall. However, he emphasizes that the Congress is willing to cooperate with the president’s team in order to realize building of the wall.
According to Trump, the wall would cost around $8 billion. However, some analysts think that such price may reach up to $10 billion. Trump presented proposals regarding how he can make Mexico pay for the border wall, but some of the included measures are quite controversial, the money that will be collected is will not be enough to cover all expenses.
Trump’s website posted some of measures that the president intends to use to reimburse the expenditure for building the wall. These measures include remittance seizure, increasing fees on temporary visas to Mexican CEOs and diplomats, border crossing cards, NAFTA worker visas, and at ports of entry to US; potential tariffs and cutting of foreign aids.
However, when results of these measures are combined, Trump will only be collecting less than $1 billion, and this amount is significantly lower than the estimated cost of the wall. Meanwhile, should the president decide to impose remittance seizure, he would possibly face major legal hindrances and backlash from both domestic and international communities.
Every year, US foreign aid to Mexico amounts to less than $200 million. Thus, if such money should be diverted to funding of the wall, it will still be insufficient. Meanwhile, it is hard to estimate the revenue from tariffs without considering taxes.
One of the measures include increasing fees for visas, including border crossing cards. However, visas and border crossing cards cost $150–$250, when taking all into account the fees that would be collected from these, the amount would only be half a billion dollars.
Thus, it turns out that remittance seizure has the most potential in gaining funding source for the wall. Based on data of bank of Mexico, $24.8 billion in remittance payment was made to the country in 2015. Around 97% of these remittances in the first quarter of 2015 originated from the US. As a matter of fact, most of Mexico’s remittance payment revenue derives from the US. Thus, if all remittance will be seized, US would have enough money to build the wall.
Trump also intends to use the Patriot Act to require Mexicans to provide legal identification before the can engage in money transfer transactions, but this action can elicit a number of legal battles against Trump.
Courts may think that it is improper and illegal for Trump to use the Patriot Act against Mexicans because it was designed to target Radical Islamic terrorists. Moreover, Mexicans may be forced to resort to illegal ways of smuggling money to Mexico.