WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) — Donald Trump’s plan to force Mexico to pay for a border wall would begin by threatening to block money transfers from the United States.
The Republican presidential candidate outlined his controversial proposal, which was his opening campaign salvo in August, in a two-page memo he sent to The Washington Post. It suggests cutting off the flow of money transfers sent home to Mexico by immigrants, a move that could force a confrontation between the two allies.
The proposal could endanger a cash flow that has become an important part of Mexico’s economy.
A “one-time payment of $5-10 billion” from Mexico, presumably to build the 1,000-mile wall at Mexico’s expense, would lift the ban on transfers. “It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” Trump wrote.
The letter revealed for the first time the procedures Trump envisioned when he made the suggestion of a wall.
The Mexican Central Bank reported nearly $25 billion was sent to Mexico from citizens living abroad in 2015, mostly from the United States. In his letter Trump says “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.”
Mexican officials have been critical of Trump’s proposal, which he made along with accusations undocumented immigrants from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers. In March, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told the Mexico City newspaper El Universal that he is among “those who regret and condemn these kinds of expressions” of Trump. He noted Trump’s statements damaged the relationship between the United States and Mexico.
Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderon, each former Mexican presidents, have also rejected Trump’s proposal to build a border wall. Fox called for Trump drop out of the presidential race.
Whether Trump, as president, has the power to enforce such a plan, is in doubt.
“Trump is giving an extremely broad definition of this section of the Patriot Act and what it allows, and it’d surely be litigated,” said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a Virginia non-partisan policy analysis group. “It would be a large expansion beyond what the text reads.”