Andrew McCarthy and Mary O’Grady both cast a jaundiced eye at Donald Trump’s campaign proposal, COMPELLING MEXICO TO PAY FOR THE WALL.
McCarthy spells out his position from the start: Trump’s Border Wall Plan Is Ridiculous on Its Face. For starters (emphasis added),
He says he will force Mexico to pay for the wall by contorting the Patriot Act, of all things, into a unilateral executive power to draft private money-transfer companies like Western Union into policing illegal-alien remittances to Mexico. In other words, 2016’s most successful “outsider insurgency” would replace the incumbent autocrat with a new autocrat. The Patriot Act is a counter-terrorism measure aimed at enhancing investigations of national-security threats, not illegal immigration. To the extent that it beefed up surveillance of money transfers, it was aimed at remittances to terrorist organizations, not to Mexico.
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Section 326 of the Patriot Act — which expressly targets “international money laundering” and “terrorist financing” — empowers the Treasury Secretary to prescribe rules that financial institutions must follow in identifying people who open accounts and use them to move money. Trump figures all he needs to do is rewrite the relevant regulation. Our would-be chief executive’s memo explaining this to the Post features his signature attention to detail: It twice cites the regulation in question, but misidentifies it both times — it is actually 31 CFR 103.121, not 31 CFR 130.121. The latter provision does not exist in the Code of Federal Regulations.
The only way Mr. Trump might inhibit the flow of dollars to Mexico via the formal banking system would be to impose targeted capital controls. But that’s likely to violate U.S. obligations under a variety of international agreements.
It would also place a huge burden on Americans and the American economy. More than one million gringos live in Mexico and another 20 million visit the country every year. Plus, Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner and U.S. manufacturing is highly integrated with Mexico. Capital controls would blow up a production-sharing relationship that has made the North American economy the envy of the world.
Please read both articles in full.
So far, the only thing Trump is building around Mexico is a media avalanche criticizing everything U.S., starting with Trump, of course. Trump has gifted Mexican media and the country’s politicians a 24/7, solid-gold (probably the only solid gold in the gold-plated Trump universe) distraction from Mexico’s myriad, ingrained problems, and agitators everywhere a rallying point.
Trumpery is defined as