Standing up to a President Donald Trump on his demand for cash to pay for a border wall would prove too costly for Mexico, according to the architect of the Republican presidential front-runner’s proposal to execute his promise.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox famously used an expletive to declare that his country would never pay to build a wall along the border. But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a national leader on immigration issues, said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the Mexican government may come to a different conclusion whey they study the numbers.
Trump’s plan calls for barring cash transfers from illegal immigrants to Mexico if the country does not come up with $10 billion for the border wall. According to the Associated Press, payments from 11 million Mexicans living in the United States — both legally and legally — amounted to $24.8 billion in 2015.
“Even though Fox has said these things publicly, when you look down at the numbers, the numbers are very clear,” Kobach said. “Yes, it’s a better deal to pay $10 billion once than to lose $24 billion year after year.”
Remittances from people living in the United States produced more revenue for Mexico last year than either the sale of oil or tourism. And Trump would not even need cooperation from Congress to shut off the spigot, Kobach said. The president already has the authority under the Patriot Act. That law contains a provision, Section 326, designed to shut off the flow of money through banks and other financial institutions to terrorists.
“Well, you can use the same section to shut down the flow of remittances south to Mexico … They’re critically dependent on these dollars that are sent home by legal and mostly illegal aliens in the United States,” he said. “Mexico would panic at that point, because that is their social safety net. So they would have to make a choice.”
That choice would be making a one-time payment for the wall or losing a a large chunk of that $24 billion year after year after year.
“It’s high time we use this as a negotiating tool,” Kobach said. “We have been taking it for so many decades. This capital drains out of our country. And it’s draining out because of illegal immigration, primarily. They’re sending this money home.”