Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has proposed a way to afford Trump’s southern border wall construction without the Mexican government or the U.S. footing the bill.
Instead, he suggests a way to force the drug cartels to pay for it.
On Tuesday, Sensenbrenner told reporters at The Washington Examiner, “This is a way to fulfill the president’s desire to have Mexico pay for the wall.”
The lawmaker’s proposed plan would involve civil asset forfeiture, a process that allows law enforcement officials to seize money they suspect is linked to drug trade, says the report. In effect, the Mexican drug cartels would pay for the border wall.
“Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that the bad Mexicans end up paying for the wall, and the bad Mexicans have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crimes and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself.” House Judiciary Committee member added, “Saying that we’re going to have the Mexican drug cartels end up paying for the wall, that very well may be something that is powerful enough to get the institutional inertia in the Senate overcome.”
Some conservatives have voiced concerns about whether his plan could potentially violate due process rights.
According to The Hill, the Wisconsin Republican intends to include legislation that would require Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review how much money could realistically be seized from drug cartels using this strategy and what they can do to increase the amount. He added that nearly fifty percent of the total amount seized would “be made available without fiscal year limitation” to be used to construct the border wall.
“The [Drug Enforcement Agency] has estimated that the gross receipts of the Mexican drug trade are somewhere between $19–29 billion a year,” he said. “We don’t have to be 100 percent efficient to get the money we need to pay for the wall relatively quickly.”
If Sensenbrenner’s proposed bill passes, it could likely face obstacles by Democrats who are seeking to thwart construction of the border wall, says the article.
Reportedly, his legislation does not offer details on what would specifically qualify as a Mexican drug cartel, which could make it open for the Justice Department to more broadly define the term.
Sensenbrenner clarified, “We’re not talking about somebody whose car is seized because he lent the car to his daughter and she went out on [a date] and she smoked pot in the car.” He maintained, “There is a limiting principle here and we’re talking about a multi-billion dollar operation that is poisoning the minds and poisoning the bodies of Americans and I think that this probably.”
“You’ve got a choice of civil asset forfeiture, increasing the deficit or raising taxes on the American people [for funding the wall]. I think that given the choice of three alternatives of how to pay for it, it’s easy to sell mine and not so easy to sell the other two.”
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