If you asked the least-informed person in America to tell you one thing that Donald Trump has promised to do as president, they would probably be able to tell you that he means to build a wall across the southern border…and that he intends to make Mexico pay for it. It has been the unofficial slogan of his campaign, a motto that his supporters recite at rallies. No matter what else he did or did not do as president, if the wall doesn’t get built, it will be hard to judge his term as anything less than a partial failure. The wall must be built under a Trump presidency.
Even Trump’s diehard supporters, though, wonder if he can really do it. Build the wall? Sure, he can probably get that done. But make Mexico pay for it? Is that realistic? Or is it just humorous bluster that comes second to Trump’s biggest strength – his ability to renegotiate?
On all issues, Trump has veered away from specifics. He knows that Americans do not vote for politicians based on 30-page policy papers. But after one of the worst weeks of his campaign, he may have felt compelled to provide a little bit of substance to counterbalance some of his missteps – especially pertaining to women. To that end, he wrote a memo to The Washington Post entitled: Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall.
In the memo, Trump says that the cornerstone of his plan lies in remittance payments that illegal aliens are sending home to their families in Mexico. Using a clause in the Patriot Act, Trump intends to stop the flow of those payments unless Mexico issues a one-time payment of “$5-10 billion” to the U.S. government. If they comply, he will let the payments continue. If not, he says, Mexico will be facing dire economic consequences.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” he wrote.
The Post, which rushed to poke holes in the plan, said this of the effect Trump’s proposal would have on Mexico:
Many academics and economists have said that Trump’s notion of impounding remittances could have devastating consequences, harming poor communities and families who rely on funds from abroad to provide food and shelter.
This is apparently what qualifies as a sober counterpoint in today’s liberal press. We’re supposed to shake our heads in sadness. Oh no, those poor communities! We have to keep letting Mexican immigrants come to our country so they can send all the money back home!
Trump is popular because he’s the first presidential candidate in ages to make no bones about it: America deserves to put America first. The Washington Post may find that philosophy abhorrent, but a great many Trump voters do not.