President Donald Trump promised Americans he would stop the flow of illegal immigrants, who cause crime and cost us billions.
An integral part of his plan is to build a wall along the southern border.
Not only that, he said Mexico would pay for it.
But, of course, Mexico has no intention of paying for the wall, as President Enrique Pena Nieto said (surprise, surprise).
But does Mexico have a choice?
Here are 6 ways Trump could unilaterally make Mexico pay for the wall.
1. Use Confiscated Drug Money
Ted Cruz proposed something called the El Chapo Act. It’s pretty straightforward.
As Senator Ted Cruz points out, Central American and Mexican drug cartels are enormously profitable—they make billions every year.
Furthermore, they have huge stashes of dirty money—El Chapo’s fortune alone is estimated at $14 billion, and he’s currently in US custody.
Cruz’s plan is simple: let’s use all the confiscated drug money we find to pay for the wall.
And since most of the drug cartels are based in Mexico, this would be an indirect, as well as ironic, way of making Mexico pay.
2. Cut Foreign Aid To Mexico
It might come as a surprise to you, but the US pays Mexico some $320 million every year in direct foreign aid transfers, in additional to millions more indirectly.
We also pay another $400 million annually to other Latin American countries.
That money should be withheld, and used to help pay for the wall—it all adds up.
Over 10 years, that’s a solid $3.2 billion in funding, just from Mexico alone.
3. Trump Could Use NAFTA As Political Leverage
Although I think Trump should scrap NAFTA altogether, and instead negotiate bilateral trade agreements with Canada and Mexico independently, he could use the negotiations to get Mexico to cough up some cash.
Mexico makes piles of money through trade with America, and they’ve industrialized far more than they otherwise could have.
Basically, they’re the big winner in NAFTA.
If NAFTA goes, their economy goes.
This gives Trump leverage over Mexico: pay up or get kicked to the curb.
Mexico will pay.
4. Trump Could Impose Tariffs On Mexican Products
We could impose retaliatory tariffs on Mexican goods, which would kill off their export-driven industries.
Mexico’s manufacturing sector isn’t particularly advanced, nor innovative. It’s only advantage is that it’s cheap. If tariffs suddenly make Mexican products expensive, their industries die.
That’ll give Mexico plenty of incentive to pay for the wall.
And even if they don’t, we import so much from Mexico that even a modest tariff could cover our costs.
After all, Trump’s wall won’t cost all that much, not when you compare it to the value of international trade.
5. Withhold Interest Payments On Our Debt
Right now the US owes Mexico $51.4 billion in terms of national public debt.
If Mexico refuses to pay for the wall, we refuse to pay them back.
Is this option a little backhanded? Yes.
But it’s no more morally duplicitous than Mexico refusing to control its border, and effectively sponging off America’s welfare and penal system to care for millions of its citizens.
Beyond that, it wouldn’t come to that anyways, since Mexico’s fragile government would buckle under the pressure—their state is weak, and couldn’t take the political, or economic hit.
6. We Could Tax Remittances Heavily
Most people don’t know this, but illegal aliens in America send billions abroad every year, and Mexico is the primary recipient.
These payments are called remittances.
Basically, an alien gets a job in the US, and wires the money home; he remits it.
These remittances are huge.
In fact, in over $130 billion left America in 2015 in the form of remittances.
Remittances from illegal aliens accounted for some $38 billion of this (and over half went to Mexico and Central America).
So, let’s boost the taxes on these and use the money to pay for the wall—it would only take a few years max.
Mexico Will Pay, No Problem
There are lots of good options on the table that Donald Trump could use to make Mexico pay for the wall—and they don’t require Mexico’s cooperation.
Trump could implement them right now. No problems.
Illegal immigration’s a big problem, and the wall would help solve it.
Also, the wall would be final: the next administration couldn’t get rid of it nearly as easily as they could, say, regulations on deportation enforcement. This is key, especially since government bounces back and forth between the two parties regularly.
It’s a permanent safeguard, and a powerful symbol.
And frankly, we don’t have much of a choice. Illegal immigration is costing America big time—over $30 billion every year in California alone.
Let’s build the wall. And let’s make Mexico pay for it.