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“Where Will It All End?”: Trump’s New Mexico Proposal Is Much Crazier And More Nightmarish Than You Thought

Donald Trump’s new proposal — if you can call it that — to force Mexico to fund a border wall by threatening to cut off money transfers into that country could prove even crazier and more nightmarish than it first appears.

In particular, it could require literally every person anywhere in the country who wants to transfer money abroad to present proof of lawful presence — or, if not, it could force private businesses to potentially discriminate against Mexican immigrants, several immigration policy analysts with varying specializations on the issue tell me. And it could also fuel an explosion of black-market money-transferring activities.

Under the proposal, which was outlined to the Washington Post in a two-page memo, President Trump would threaten to change a rule under the U.S.A. Patriot Act, to require that “no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States.”

Once apprised of this threat, which would cause tens of billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico to dry up, Mexico would instantly cave and cough up $5-10 billion to build a Great Trumpian Wall on the border, his memo boasts.

The Post story about this proposal points out that there are major legal obstacles to actually achieving such a rules change, and also notes that the prospect of a major confrontation with Mexico over the idea could prove prohibitive.

But just as bad or worse than any of that, the practical on-the-ground consequences of actually implementing this proposal could be quite dramatic and nightmarish. It raises possibilities that (you’d think) Trump’s opponents could use to persuade GOP voters that he is less-than-prepared for the presidency, to put it charitably.

For Trump’s proposal to work, one of two things would have to happen, these analysts tell me: Either every transfer of money abroad would require the agent carrying out the transaction to demand documentation of lawful presence from the person looking to send money. Or the agent would only have to run such a check on those who are sending money to Mexico in particular. Trump’s proposal seems to require this of every “alien” looking to transfer funds abroad, which would seem to mean anywhere outside the U.S. But the memo’s broader aim — forcing Mexico in particular to its knees — suggests he may mean the latter.

“Under Trump’s proposal, every individual sending money outside of the United States would first have to establish his legal authority to be in the U.S.,” Fernand Amandi, a principle of Bendixen and Amandi International, which has studied remittances for decades, tells me.

“The dog whistle that one can interpret or decipher from the memo is that it’s targeting Mexican undocumented immigrants only,” Amandi adds. “The implication of this is that it would require lawful proof of residence in the U.S. only from people who are transferring money to Mexico. Until Trump is explicit about this policy, we can’t know for certain which of these he means.”

Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute, agrees. “The only way to do this is to force every Western Union or bank employee to ask for proof of lawful presence,” Nowrasteh tells me. “Unless you want to patrol every transaction, it would have to stereotype specifically against Mexican Americans and Mexicans in the United States.”

In other words, this would impact “$125 billion in annual remittances from the U.S. to the entire world,” or it would require those carrying out transfers to “profile all their customers, determine which are sending money to Mexico, and block that,” Nowrasteh says. Either way, this would be an “expensive government regulation that would impact global capital flows,” he adds.

“The agents would provide this service upon presentation of proof of lawful presence in the United States,” says Manuel Orozco, an expert on remittances at the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in Washington that focuses on western hemispheric policy. “None of this is feasible in any way.”

Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute also sees the possibility that Trump’s proposal could cause a rise in criminal money-transfering activity — and an increase in illegal immigration.

“Black market channels would be quickly utilized for funneling money abroad,” Nowrasteh says. “Immediately it would all go underground.” He predicts that this business might flow into already existing underground money-transfer channels, such as to people who literally “haul cash across the border on their backs.” Or people might buy stocks and transfer those, to be sold in Mexico. Or, if the restriction were only on money being transferred to Mexico, as opposed to all money transferred abroad, some might send money to a third party in another country who would then send the money on to Mexico.

And there’s still more! “Blocking remittances could create more incentives for Mexicans to come here and stay here longer, because income flows are cut off,” Nowrasteh says. “That’s clearly not Trump’s goal.”

Trump has shown a talent for offering up proposals that seem ever more batty than the ones that came before, no matter how crazy the previous ones seemed. Trump launched his campaign amid a vow to carry out mass deportations and build a border wall. He then followed that with a promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. Now he’s somehow managed to make the initial border wall proposal — which has been the lodestar of his whole candidacy — seem even more outlandish still.

As nutty as some of these previous proposals have seemed, his GOP rivals have at times responded with surprisingly mute criticism combined with movement in his direction. Trumpism has compelled Marco Rubio to call for stepped up surveillance of mosques and it has driven Ted Cruz to rule out legalization of the 11 million and to call for increased patrols of Muslim neighborhoods. At this point, it’s impossible to even venture a suggestion as to where it will all end.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, April 5, 2016

April 9, 2016 Posted by | Border Wall, Donald Trump, Mexico | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“So Impressed With Trump”: Patrol Agents Union Endorsement Raises Troubling Questions

Far be it from me to suggest that any American ought to be penalized for his or her choice of presidential candidate. One of the many things that make this democracy worth fighting to preserve is its premise of one person, one vote — a radical notion that gives the poorest citizen the same franchise as the wealthiest.

Furthermore, the secret ballot is designed to protect that fundamental right from bribery or coercion, intimidation or blackmail. You get to go into the voting booth and choose whoever you believe will best represent the national interest — and your own. You don’t have to worry about losing your job or your home or your livelihood because of the choice you’ve made.

Nevertheless, I have to wonder about the 16,500 members of the National Border Patrol Council, a union that has endorsed the candidacy of Donald Trump. Its members are federal law enforcement agents, charged with securing the country’s borders in a manner that respects the rights of those it may need to apprehend. Border Patrol agents should be evenhanded, prudent and circumspect, unflagging in upholding basic human rights.

But Trump hasn’t shown even a simple decency toward those who have entered the country illegally, especially Mexicans. Last June, he announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination in a speech laced with stunning bigotry.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.

Since then, the real estate mogul has only ramped up the racism. He insists that he would build a wall on our southern border — forcing Mexico to pay for it — and he’d ban entry to all Muslims. Further, he has said, he’d round up the estimated 11 million undocumented workers already here and deport them. That’s not only imprudent, but it’s also irrational.

Yet, the Border Patrol union is so impressed with Trump that it has chosen to, well, trumpet its endorsement, breaking with union history in its first-ever official support for a presidential candidate during the primaries.

“We need a person in the White House who doesn’t fear the media, who doesn’t embrace political correctness … who won’t bow to foreign dictators, who is pro-military and values law enforcement, and who is angry for America and NOT subservient to the interests of other nations. Donald Trump is such a man,” the union said in a statement.

It’s not unusual for law enforcement officers to lean to the right; they often support Republican political candidates. But the union’s statement endorsing Trump is a hodgepodge of anti-Obama, ultra-right-wing memes shot through with a healthy dose of paranoia.

Claiming its members protect the country in “an environment where our own political leaders try to keep us from doing our jobs,” they paint President Obama’s tenure as a mistake. “America has already tried a young, articulate freshman senator who never created a job as an attorney and under whose watch criminal cartels have been given the freest border reign ever known,” the statement says. Really? These people represent federal law enforcement?

That Trump has tapped into a deep reserve of xenophobia among the Republican base is no great surprise; a GOP establishment that is now panicked by his rise spent years pandering to that xenophobia. But it is surprising that a union representing more than 75 percent of the nation’s Border Patrol agents has gone into league with that base, unveiling, in the process, a dangerous hostility toward Mexicans that hardly befits the agents’ status as law enforcement representatives. Their endorsement will only undermine confidence in their ability to carry out their duties fairly.

In 2011, an Arizona-based human rights organization, No More Deaths, published a report, “A Culture of Cruelty,” alleging systematic abuse of migrants and detainees by Border Patrol agents. Further, activists with No More Deaths contend that the Homeland Security hierarchy ignores or whitewashes those abuses.

With its endorsement of Donald Trump, the National Border Patrol Council has simply given those claims even more credibility.

 

By: Cynthia Tucker Haynes, Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2007; The National Memo, April 1, 2016

April 2, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Mexico, National Border Patrol Council | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Enormous Ignorance”: Sorry Donald Trump, Mexico Says It Will Not Pay For Border Wall

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration said there’s no truth to U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s assertion that the nation would pay for a wall along the border between the countries.

“Of course it’s false,” Eduardo Sanchez, Pena Nieto spokesman, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “It reflects an enormous ignorance for what Mexico represents, and also the irresponsibility of the candidate who’s saying it.”

Sanchez said the government hasn’t taken Trump’s statements on the campaign trail as serious proposals. The majority of Mexicans in the U.S. follow the nation’s laws, and immigrants make up an important part of the American workforce, Sanchez said. Trump has said Mexico is sending rapists and criminals to the U.S.

On Tuesday, Trump again reiterated his assertion that Mexico would foot the bill for a wall sealing off its northern border with the United States.

“We’re not paying for it,” the billionaire said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. “You know how easy that is? They’ll probably just give us the money.”

Throughout the course of his presidential campaign, Trump has assured voters that his plan for a wall would be subsidized by the Mexican government.

“I watch politicians come on: ‘can you imagine, Sean, he’s saying Mexico’s going to pay? They’ll never pay.’ And I’m saying, that’s like a hundred percent,” Trump told Hannity. “That’s not like 98 percent. Sean, it’s a hundred percent they’re [going to] pay. And if they don’t pay, we’ll charge ‘em a little tariff. It’ll be paid. But we need the wall.”

Sanchez disputed that his government would fund such a project as well as the need for it.

“Mexicans in the U.S. work with passion, they do their jobs well,” Sanchez said. “His comments reflect an enormous lack of knowledge of the reality in the U.S.”

 

By: Eric Martin, Bloomberg Politics, August 12, 2015

August 16, 2015 Posted by | Border Security, Donald Trump, Mexico | , , , , | 5 Comments

   

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