Neither Congress nor the Mexican government is eager to pay for a U.S.-Mexico wall. Mexico's drug cartels to the rescue?
President Trump’s idea of “The Wall” is intended to close the most significant gaps along the U.S./Mexican border.
Critics of the new administration argue that while the president and his supporters want to do it, Congress will ultimately not provide the funds needed to make the wall a reality. And, while a tax on Mexican imports is floated as another option, it, too, is fraught with huge contradictions and difficulties.
So, if Congress balks and the Mexican government continues to refuse, where does the president get the money to fulfill one of his signature campaign promises?
It seems a solution may already be in the works: the Mexican drug cartels and their bosses will ultimately pay for the wall.
The day before Trump’s inauguration, Mexico extradited the infamous drug lord El Chapo to the U.S. to stand trial. The timing was interesting to say the least…
In the 33-page indictment against El Chapo filed in 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the government says that upon conviction, the U.S. will seek forfeiture of any property or contractual rights derived from the continuing criminal enterprise, "including but not limited to at least approximately a sum of money equal to $14 billion in United States currency."
According to current estimates, $14 billion would pay for nearly half the cost of Trump’s wall.
Trump’s attitude towards Mexico since taking office has been tough for sure. In an early conversation with Mexico’s president, Trump threatened to send down U.S. troops to capture other “bad hombres” if Mexico won’t or can’t.
These “bad hombres” like El Chapo represent the leaders of the main drug cartels – and the likely source of financing for Trump’s wall.
To make this work, Trump needs to continue to pressure Mexico’s government into rounding up the “bad hombres” and getting them extradited to the U.S.
This is not easy, especially given Mexico’s past reluctance to crack down on the cartels’ top leaders.
Still, it is clear that Trump is forcing the Mexican leadership into a moment of truth: go after the cartel leadership directly and with purpose, or continue to deal with the unpredictability of his administration.