While everyone had their eyes focused on a government shutdown last week, the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) was busy introducing a bill into the House. In it, Ms. Lee requires that Mexico pay for the border wall.
The Protect American Taxpayers and Secure Border Act was introduced by Lee, Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX). The bill has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary as well as the Committee on Homeland security, where it will sit until the Speaker of the House moves it along.
In addition to the requirement that the government of Mexico pays for the border wall and that no U.S. taxpayer funds be used, a few other interesting elements are proposed in the legislation:
- The Attorney General may appoint 100 new immigration judges.
- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall use technology to secure the border.
- Additional training will be given to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
- Humanitarian assistance will be provided to “immigrants, refugees and other displaced persons who are in need of medical assistance.”
House bill 7332 may just be what the doctor ordered for President Trump, and he would be wise to give it some thought. Could the Democrats be painting themselves into a political corner from which they may have a difficult time extracting themselves? Using his negotiating skills, it just may be that Mr. Trump could have an easier time convincing Mexico to pony up the money for the wall than the 116th Congress.
While Mexican leaders have said they would never pay for a border wall, they have otherwise been rather compliant with the president to date. For example, Mexico has agreed to take back migrants who are awaiting dispensation of their U.S. asylum claims. Mexican leaders weren’t all too happy about it – but they did it. Thus, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen was able to announce that “catch and release” will be replaced with “catch and return,” as reported in The New York Times.
Then there’s the adage that money talks. And in this case, a U.S. offer of $4.5B to Central America and Mexico for a variety of economic development projects is a way to head migrants off at the pass. In other words, if people have a livelihood in their homeland, they are not as likely to make the grueling trek to the American border. What does this little deal add up to? “The United States welcomes the ‘historic commitment’ of Mexico to development and is also ‘committed to promoting a safer and more prosperous Central America,’” according to The Business Times. In short, the Mexicans are willing to play ball if the price is right.
Could a shutdown of the border push Mexico toward the negotiating table?
There’s also the business of trade. The president managed to negotiate a new trade bill with Mexico, replacing NAFTA with the USMCA. While not immigration related, it shows that Trump and Mexican leaders can talk turkey and get something accomplished.
At this point, the president is threatening to shut down the entire southern border – lock, stock, and barrel. It’s doubtful this is going to play well in Mexico City. Could a shutdown of the border push Mexico toward the negotiating table? Is it really all that far-fetched to believe U.S. and Mexican leaders can do some additional horse trading here? And if they manage to figure out this Rubik’s cube of paying for the wall, the Democrats will have no place to retreat. After all, H.R. 7332 is their idea.
Getting Mexico to cough up the dough for a border wall won’t be easy, but this idea should be pursued by the president and his administration with all due haste. For sure, the Democrats are going to do everything in their power to stop any American funding of the wall, so as crazy as it sounds, I say head south to Mexico, test the waters and see if the fish are biting.