One of the more contentious parts of #President Trump’s agenda is his promise to build a wall across the #Southern Border of the #United States as a means of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. His promise to also make Mexico pay for the wall has been met with raised eyebrows from Washington and angry denunciations from Mexico City. Now, according to the Washington Times, Congressional Republicans have found a way to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. They propose slapping a two percent tax on money immigrants send home to families still in their country of origin.
The estimate of how much money immigrants send out of the United States is in the $130 billion a year range.
A two percent tax would yield $2.6 billion a year, which would pay for a lot of wall construction and border enforcement. The beauty of the scheme is that it is simple, straightforward, and does not allow for much retaliation against Americans, who only send back $7 billion from overseas.
Getting the wall built is still going to be a politically controversial project. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to block the wall, not so much for public policy reasons but because he knows that it is near and dear to President Trump’s heart. A fight over the wall in Congress would also be part of a strategy to stir up Hispanic voters to motivate them to vote for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
Some analysts, even those who are border enforcement hawks, wonder if a physical wall across the entire southern border is the right strategy.
On some parts of the southern border, because of terrain and other factors, a so-called “virtual wall” with sensors, cameras, and aerial drones is said to make more sense to stop illegal traffic.
Finally, some property owners along the southern border are irate about plans to take some of their lands under eminent domain to build the wall on. To be sure, the government has the right to seize property for public use but must pay “fair market value” for the land. The government’s definition of what that is and the property owners’ are two different things, and the matter is likely to wind up in court.