Below is my latest Op-Ed.
Written by DML
Americans who voted for Trump want a wall to be built along the southern border. I have great ideas that can pay for the wall, but before I explain them in full, allow me to say that as someone who has spent ten years covering immigration, and making 4 films about the topic, I know that a wall is nice to have, but it alone will not solve the issue of illegal immigration.
For example, a wall will not stop visa violators from being in the country illegally. Visa overstays make up roughly half of the illegal population in the US.
For a person like me, a big wall is like the tasty side salad that comes with the greatest steak and potato on the menu. It’s nice to have, but it’s not why I order the steak.
A wall along the southern border will not stop the terrorist who uses the waterways to get in through California, NY and Florida. A wall will not stop the cartels who are now using drones, in addition to tunnels, ports-of-entry, shipping containers and speed boats to smuggle drugs into the US.
What a wall will do is slow down the illegal traffic, and it will send a clear message to migrants that the days of working in the US illegally are over. There are less expensive ways to send this message, of course. For example, implementing mandatory e-verify would send a huge message to both the migrants and employers who cheat the system, and it would cost a fraction of what it costs to build a wall.
This all said, I understand the passion people have for getting the wall built. They voted for Trump in part because they wanted not only the wall, but they chanted for Mexico to pay for it.
In reality, the only way to get the wall built is if Mexico pays for it. I say this because Congress will not allocate the funds to build the wall unless the Republicans take over many of the congressional seats currently held by Democrats, which I don’t see happening during Trump’s presidency. So what to do?
If Trump wants to keep to the biggest promise he made to his base, then I have two ideas the president should strongly consider.
The first idea was shared with me by a guy in the oil business.
Mexico sends millions of barrels of oil into the US each week. This equates to millions of dollars paid each day to Mexico.
The Mexicans use pipelines to ship the oil, and so there is no delivery cost. This is a huge deal, for if they were to sell the same oil to India, China, etc, they’d incur shipping costs because in the oil business the seller pays for shipping.
In short, Mexico is selling us oil and not incurring any costs to deliver it.
President Trump should place a $1 delivery charge on each barrel transported via pipeline into the US. This would eventually pay for the wall.
To those people who fear Mexico will frown upon this “fee” and thus, sell their oil to China or India, keep in mind that if Mexico was to do such a thing, they would incur $3 to $4 per barrel in shipping costs to those countries. Therefore, the $1 fee we charge is still a winning proposition for Mexico.
The other proposal I offer, which is far more difficult to implement but equally lucrative, is to charge a transaction fee on all money wired from the US to Mexico unless the sender is a US company, an American citizen, or a legal resident.
In short, we need to charge illegal aliens for sending cash back home.
Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are sending more money to their families back home than ever before. These annual “remittances” — as they’re called by analysts — topped $69 billion in 2016, according to central bank data compiled in a report by the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank. Roughly 40% of that money is going to Mexico. Therefore, if the US was to charge just a few pennies for every $1 sent, the funding for the wall would add up quickly.
If you like these ideas, I ask you to share them.