Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has found a new way to make Mexico pay for the wall, or more accurately make one Mexican pay for it. He has just filed a bill called Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (El Chapo) Act that would seize $14 billion in assets owned by Mexican Drug Lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and apply the money for border security, including the southern boundary wall.

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El Chapo is currently cooling his heels in a Manhattan jail awaiting prosecution for various crimes he is alleged to have committed as part of his running a criminal enterprise, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The bill, which would also siphon off assets seized from other drug lords, would solve a number of problems concerning the building of the wall. First, it would pay for a huge amount, perhaps even the entire cost, of the southern immigration barrier, thus easing the call on the federal budget.

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The other effect would be to circumnavigate Democratic opposition to the wall, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

Schumer has threatened to shut down the government if President Donald Trump insists on including funding for building the wall in a spending bill that will fund federal programs for the rest of the fiscal year. The New York senator can do this because the bill needs 60 votes to pass the Senate and, provided he holds his caucus together, Schumer can filibuster it at will.

He is secure in the belief that any government shutdown, even one instigated by Democrats, will be blamed on President Trump and the Republicans.

Trump, prudently, though much to the outrage of his conservative, immigration hawk supporters, has decided not to make a fight of it, choosing to seek to fund for the wall in the next fiscal year’s spending bill. Of course, no guarantee exists that Schumer will not lead a filibuster of that bill as well.

Schumer does not seem to be motivated by any issue with illegal immigration or border security. His gambit is one of pure, raw political power. He is acting as a stone wall against the border wall because Trump wants it and Schumer sees a political advantage and perhaps personal satisfaction in denying the president something he sincerely desires. He has stated flatly that there will be no negotiation and no art of the deal games in this matter.

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Cruz’s bill were it to pass, would circumnavigate Schumer and pay for the wall from a dedicated source of money. The wall has already been authorized thanks to a bill that, ironically, Schumer and most other Democrats voted for.

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