Trump uses Egypt attack to plug border wall, immigration restrictions

In denouncing the terror attack on a mosque in Egypt, President Trump on Friday renewed his calls for for tighter immigration screening in the U.S, and a wall along the border with Mexico.

Trump said he would Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi “to discuss the tragic terrorist attack, with so much loss of life,” adding on Twitter: “We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.”

Egyptian state media reported that at least 235 people died and more than 130 were injured during an attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region, the deadliest attack ever on Egyptian civilians by Islamic militants.

Earlier Friday, Trump tweeted: “Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”

In a readout after the call, the White House said Trump offered his condolences to the people of Egypt after the “heinous attack” on worshippers. Trump “reiterated that the United States will continue to stand with Egypt in the face of terrorism,” the statement said. “The international community cannot tolerate barbaric terrorist groups and must strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism in all its forms.”

Trump has used previous terror attacks to promote immigration restrictions that are the subject of many political and legal disputes.

The administration’s proposed ban on immigration from six Muslim majority countries has faced a number of legal challenges. And congressional Democrats have moved to block funding for the proposed wall on the nation’s southern border.

Democrats said the nation has long screened immigrants in an effort to block potential terrorists, and they have accused Trump of making his proposals to keep Muslims and Hispanics out of the United States.

[USA Today]

Reality

Trump proposes a border wall with Mexico to keep out Egyptians and a Muslim ban that does not include Egypt as solutions to prevent terrorism after a terror attack at a mosque in Egypt.

After border agent is killed and partner injured in Texas, Trump renews call for wall

Authorities were searching southwest Texas for suspects or witnesses after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner injured Sunday while on patrol in the state’s Big Bend area, officials said.

Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were “responding to activity” near Interstate 10 in Van Horn, Tex., when both were seriously injured, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Martinez’s partner called for help. Other agents arrived, provided medical care and took them to a hospital.

Martinez died of his injuries; his partner, who was not identified, remained in the hospital in serious condition, officials said.

Martinez, a 36-year-old from El Paso, had been a border agent since August 2013.

Jeannette Harper of the FBI’s El Paso field office told the San Antonio Express-News that authorities were still gathering evidence. She said reports that the agents were shot were not true, but that a full account of what happened wouldn’t be released until Monday.

“They were not fired upon,” Harper said.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to offer any further details about what happened.

But a National Border Patrol Council labor union official said Martinez may have been killed in a rock attack.

Art Del Cueto, the union’s vice president, said he has heard from other Border Patrol agents that Martinez and his partner were believed to be responding to an electronic sensor that had been activated.

Del Cueto said he was told that Martinez and his partner apparently did not sustain bullet or stab wounds — so he suspects the pair may have been attacked with rocks, which are commonly thrown at agents working in that area.

“It’s heartbreaking; it’s truly heartbreaking,” he told The Washington Post on Monday in a phone interview.

President Trump appeared to connect Martinez’s death to border security and plugged his plans for a border wall Sunday night on Twitter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, without explanation, that Martinez and his partner were “attacked” and also linked the incident to security on the border with Mexico.

“This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them,” Cruz tweeted. “I remain fully committed to working with the Border Patrol to provide them with all the resources they need to safeguard our nation.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“Our prayers are with the families of this Border Patrol Agent who was killed & the other who was injured in this attack in Texas,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our resources must be increased to prevent these attacks in the future.”

The FBI in El Paso is leading an investigation into the incident, along with the Culberson County Sheriff’s Department and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The acting secretary of homeland security, Elaine Duke, said in a statement that she learned of Martinez’s death Sunday morning, and offered her agency’s full support to “determine the cause of this tragic event.”

“On behalf of the quarter of a million front line officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition,” Duke said.

The area where the agents were injured is a dusty stretch of highway about 100 miles east of El Paso.

It is part of Customs and Border Protection’s vast Big Bend Sector, which covers 135,000 square miles in Texas and Oklahoma and 510 miles of river border. The sector’s Van Horn Station, near where Martinez died, covers 15 miles of the Mexico border.

The Big Bend Sector accounted for 1 percent of the roughly 61,000 apprehensions Border Patrol agents made along Texas’s southwest border between fall 2016 and spring 2017, as the Associated Press reported.

Local media photos from the scene showed Border Patrol trucks and about a dozen other unmarked vehicles parked along the side of the road, and a group of law enforcement agents huddled together.

Thirty-eight Customs and Border Protection agents have died in the line of duty since 2003, according to the agency’s memorial page.

Before Martinez, the only other agent to die in 2017 was Isaac Morales, who was stabbed in a bar parking lot in El Paso. Three agents died in 2016, two of them in car accidents, one of a heart attack while on bike patrol.

[Washington Post]

Reality

Trump had jumped to conclusions without available evidence, fanning the flames of racism by blaming Mexicans when we don’t know what happened yet.

For example, in Culberson County, where the two officers were injured, the local sheriff painted a different picture, suggesting to the Dallas Morning News that investigators are considering the possibility that the agents fell into the culvert in a nighttime accident.

“The evidence is not obvious as to what happened out there,” Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told the paper.

Trump Urged Mexican President to Help Him Keep Up Border Wall Scam

President Donald Trump boasted about his election victory, pressured his Mexican counterpart to remain quiet about a border wall and called New Hampshire a “drug-infested den” in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, according to a transcript of the conversation revealed on Thursday by The Washington Post.

The transcript of Trump’s conversation with Mexico’s leader was one of two phone calls revealed on Thursday, which provide a rare glimpse into the private conversations of a new US president testing his negotiating powers on foreign counterparts.

The January 27 phone call with Peña Nieto came seven days after Trump entered office. In it, he focused mainly on issues of trade and immigration, with contentious moments coming in his insistence that Mexico will eventually pay for a wall along with US southern border. Peña Nieto has insisted publicly his country will not pay for the wall’s construction, but Trump demanded he cease making that claim.

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump said on the phone call. “The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.”

A day later, Trump carried out a phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which grew sour when Trump rejected an agreement to take in refugees. The transcript shows Trump growing progressively more agitated, eventually telling his Australian counterpart the call was the most irksome of the day.

“I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day,” Trump told Turnbull. “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.”
Trump later ended the phone call abruptly.

The two conversations show a President still working through the complicated nature of bilateral US relationships, often suggesting to his counterparts that he had campaign promises to fulfill in his early days in the White House.

Trump ran for office promising to build a Mexican-funded wall along the southern border. But since taking office, Trump has said that the US will pay for initial construction, with reimbursement from Mexico coming later.

In his conversation with Peña Nieto, Trump said he was willing to say publicly that he and Mexican authorities would continue to negotiate over the wall’s payment, which he said “means it will come out in the wash and that is OK.”

But he maintained his insistence that Peña Nieto remain quiet about the issue.

“You cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall,” he said. “I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about.”

Asked to comment on the transcripts, Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said only that he “can’t confirm or deny the authenticity of allegedly leaked classified documents.”

[CNN]

‘That’s a Fence’: Sean Spicer Blows a Gasket When Reporter Says Trump’s Wall is Just a ‘Tough Guy Fence’

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer pushed back hard on Wednesday against the notion that President Donald Trump had tricked voters by leaving existing border fence in place instead of building a wall as he had promised during the campaign.

After Breitbart correspondent Charlie Spiering pointed out that Trump was not “fighting for the wall that he promised,” Spicer shared an photograph of a broken border fence.

“Those images represent our nation’s current border security,” Spicer said. “So every time that [undocumented immigrants] cut through, break through, it’s costing just under a thousand bucks for us to go out and have to fix.”

According to the press secretary, Trump’s budget provides over $300 million to replace 40 miles of “border fencing.”

“Just one question about the photos,” Spiering interrupted. “Are those photos of fences or walls.”

Spicer insisted that his photos were of walls, even though he referred to them as fences earlier.

“There are various types of walls that can be built under the legislation that was just passed,” he opined.

“That is a fence,” Spiering said.

“That is called a levee wall,” Spicer replied.

“It’s not the wall the president promised,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta observed.

“Hold on, Jim, we’re going to take turns,” Spicer said.

“So you’re basically just telling the president’s supporters to be satisfied with this existing tough-guy fencing thing until he’s ready to build the wall?” Spiering asked.

“No!” Spicer exclaimed. “What I’m telling anybody is that the president said he’s going to build a wall and he’s doing it. And he’s using the best technology.”

“That’s what I’m telling you.”

(h/t Raw Story)

Media

 

Jeff Sessions Was Prepared to Call Illegal Immigrants ‘Filth’

During a speech at the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his and President Donald Trump’s commitment to cracking down on undocumented immigrants. But one thing was missing from his speech as it was delivered: a phrase referring to criminals who cross the border as “filth,” which appeared in his prepared remarks.

In the text that was published on the Department of Justice website, Sessions told a grim tale of immigrant hordes crossing the border and wreaking havoc on U.S. citizens — a myth that has been debunked time and time again.

“We mean criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders,” the speech says. “Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings. It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

But according to Catherine Thompson of Talking Points Memo, Sessions dropped “against this filth” while delivering the speech to border agents in Nogales, Arizona.

In the past, Sessions, like Trump, has enthusiastically expressed discontentwith immigrants and vowed to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants who he’s repeatedly painted as hostile and violent.

As an Alabama Senator, Sessions opposed immigration reform by arguing that immigration “takes jobs from Americans and can, in fact, create cultural problems.” He was one of the most vocal Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign, and supported him after he described Mexicans as bad hombres, rapists, and criminals. And during his first speech as the U.S. Attorney General in February, Sessions said, “We need to end this lawlessness that threatens Americans’ safety and pulls down wages of ordinary Americans.”

Based on the glaring omission on Tuesday, it appears as though Sessions thought the term “filth” would’ve been a step too far.

(h/t ThinkProgress)

Trump Tells Mexico: ‘I Might Send’ U.S. Military to Take Care of ‘Bad Hombres’

President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them itself, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.

The excerpt of the call did not make clear who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres,” — drug cartels, immigrants, or both — or the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto‘s response.

Still, the excerpt offers a rare and striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors. Trump’s remarks suggest he is using the same tough and blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.

A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The phone call between the leaders was intended to patch things up between the new president and his ally. The two have had a series of public spats over Trump’s determination to have Mexico pay for the planned border wall, something Mexico steadfastly refuses to agree to.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt seen by the AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

A person with access to the official transcript of the phone call provided an excerpt to The Associated Press. The person gave it on condition of anonymity because the administration did not make the details of the call public.

The Mexican website, Aristegui Noticias, on Tuesday published a similar account of phone call, based on the reporting of journalist Dolia Estevez. The report described Trump as humiliating Pena Nieto in a confrontational conversation.

Mexico’s foreign relations department denied that account, saying it “is based on absolute falsehoods,” and later said the statement also applied to the excerpt provided to AP.

“The assertions that you make about said conversation do not correspond to the reality of it,” the statement said. “The tone was constructive and it was agreed by the presidents to continue working and that the teams will continue to meet frequently to construct an agreement that is positive for Mexico and for the United States.”

Trump has used the phrase “bad hombres” before. In an October presidential debate, he vowed to get rid the U.S. of “drug lords” and “bad people.”

“We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out,” he said. The phrase ricocheted on social media with Trump opponents saying he was denigrating immigrants.

Trump’s comment was in line with the new administration’s bullish stance on foreign policy matters in general, and the president’s willingness to break long-standing norms around the globe.

Before his inauguration, Trump spoke to the president of Taiwan, breaking long-standing U.S. policy and irritating China. His temporary ban on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, aimed at reviewing screening procedures to lessen the threat of extremist attacks, has caused consternation around the world.

But nothing has created the level of bickering as the border wall, a centerpiece of his campaign. Mexico has consistently said it would not pay for the wall and opposes it. Before the phone call, Pena Nieto canceled a planned visit to the United States.

The fresh fight with Mexico last week arose over trade as the White House proposed a 20 percent tax on imports from the key U.S. ally to finance the wall after Pena Nieto abruptly scrapped his Jan. 31 trip to Washington.

The U.S. and Mexico conduct some $1.6 billion a day in cross-border trade, and cooperate on everything from migration to anti-drug enforcement to major environmental issues.

Trump tasked his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner — a real estate executive with no foreign policy experience — with managing the ongoing dispute, according to an administration official with knowledge of the call.

At a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May last week, Trump described his call with Pena Nieto as “friendly.”

In a statement, the White House said the two leaders acknowledged their “clear and very public differences” and agreed to work through the immigration disagreement as part of broader discussions on the relationship between their countries.

Trump Changed Immigration Policy After Mexican Leader’s Wall Tweet

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton once said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” Today she was proven correct.

As Donald Trump arrived in Phoenix late Wednesday, fresh from a visit to Mexico City’s presidential palace, he had in his hands a big immigration speech that omitted the usual line that Mexico would have to pay for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border.

Just after landing, though, Mr. Trump discovered that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had tweeted that he had told the Republican presidential nominee during their private meeting earlier that day that his country would refuse to pay for the wall.

Mr. Trump was peeved that Mr. Peña Nieto had gone public with the fact that the Mexican president had broken what Mr. Trump considered a deal to keep the question of paying for the wall off the table at their initial meeting.

So Mr. Trump hurriedly inserted a new sentence in his immigration speech, and he soon boomed out from the podium his traditional declaration that the wall would be paid for by Mexico—adding, “They don’t know it yet but they’re going to pay for the wall.”

“I had no choice,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Thursday. But he also said of the Mexican president, “I liked him very much.”

(h/t Fox News)

Reality

But yes he did, Trump could have kept the speech as it was written. The apparent lack of choice by the Republican candidate is further proof that he does not have a temperament fit for the office of the President of the United States of America.

Mexican president fact-checks Trump then disputes him over border wall payment discussion

Donald Trump flew into a nation he has constantly berated during his campaign to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto and said they discussed a wall Trump has vowed to build on the US southern border, but not his demand that Mexico pay for it — an assertion the Mexican president later disputed.

“Who pays for the wall? We didn’t discuss,” Trump had said when asked by a reporter during a news conference following their meeting in Mexico City. “We did discuss the wall. We didn’t discuss payment of the wall. That’ll be for a later date.”

But Peña Nieto later claimed the two had discussed the wall and who would pay for it — and he had “made it clear” to Trump it wouldn’t be Mexico.

“At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall,” Peña Nieto tweeted, after their meeting Wednesday.

He added that his conversation with the Republican nominee then moved on to other topics in a respectful fashion.

Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, called the meeting “the first part of the discussion and a relationship builder” between the two men, after Peña Nieto tweeted.
“It was not a negotiation, and that would have been inappropriate. It is unsurprising that they hold two different views on this issue, and we look forward to continuing the conversation,” he said in a statement.

In subsequent interviews in Mexico, Peña Nieto reiterated his version of events. He told CNN affiliate Televisa in an interview late Wednesday some of the positions Trump has taken “are a threat to Mexico.”

He also told the outlet he was very clear with Trump about the subject of a wall at the border and insisted Mexico would not pay for it and he made Trump aware that the people of Mexico had been “very insulted.”

Peña Nieto, speaking alongside Trump during their joint appearance, twice stressed the “responsibility” he has to defend Mexican people around the world and said Trump has made “assertions that regrettably had hurt and have affected Mexicans.”

“The Mexican people have felt hurt by the comments that have been made. But I am sure that his genuine interest is to build a relationship that will give both of our society’s better welfare,” Peña Nieto said.

Trump apparently left his tough deal-making persona at home as he received a presidential-style news conference on foreign soil while on a high-risk trip to Mexico on Wednesday.

The visit appeared to be an attempt to bolster Trump’s credentials as a potential world leader, following searing attacks on his temperament by his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The spur-of-the-moment trip also came hours before Trump was due to deliver a speech in Arizona meant to clarify his murky immigration policy amid signs he is softening his prior promise to deport 11 million undocumented migrants.

Trump’s claim that they didn’t discuss who would pay for the wall — despite his call for Mexico to finance it being a central theme of his campaign and one he frequently uses to fire up his supporters — appeared to be a noteworthy omission from Wednesday’s conversation when he mentioned it at their joint appearance.

The cost is one that Peña Nieto has previously refused to shoulder, just one of many issues where the two men have clashed. Peña Nieto, who has previously compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, greeted him courteously and said he was committed to working with whomever Americans elect as their next president in November.

But turning the tables on Trump, he gave the billionaire an earful on trade, said illegal immigration from Mexico to the US peaked years ago and complained of the torrent of guns that he said crossed the border and worsened Mexico’s drug wars.

Nieto said in an interview late Wednesday that some of the positions Donald Trump has taken “are a threat to Mexico.” He told CNN affiliate Televisa that he made Trump aware that the people of Mexico had been “very insulted” by his comments.

Trump’s backers were left to defend his decision not to mention his demand that Mexico pay for the border wall after the visit. Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “What difference does it make? The wall’s important no matter who pays.”

While Trump’s decision not to raise who would pay for the wall appeared to undercut his deal-making swagger, it could also reassure some wavering Republican voters who dislike Clinton but are not yet convinced Trump possesses the restraint and sobriety required of a US president.

The sight of Trump alongside the Mexican president provided the photo-op that the campaign appears to have banked on despite not knowing how the candidate would be received.

Still, the Clinton campaign came out swinging, accusing Trump of failing to make good on his pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall by not raising the issue.

“Donald Trump has made his outlandish policy of forcing Mexico to pay for his giant wall the centerpiece of his campaign. But at the first opportunity to make good on his offensive campaign promises, Trump choked,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement.

“What we saw today from a man who claims to be the ultimate ‘deal maker’ is that he doesn’t have the courage to advocate for his campaign promises when he’s not in front of a friendly crowd,” Podesta said, before accusing Trump of wanting to build a costly wall at American taxpayers’ expense.

Podesta later added: “It turns out Trump didn’t just choke, he got beat in the room and lied about it.”

Peña Nieto began his remarks alongside Trump by saying the two held a constructive exchange of views even though “we might not agree on everything.”

He then launched into a detailed defense of US-Mexican trade and its benefit to both countries delivered by the North American Free Trade Agreement — a common punching bag for Trump on the campaign trail.

The Mexican leader told Trump that both the US and Mexico had benefited from NAFTA, saying more than six million US jobs rely on exports to Mexico.

“I don’t think that commerce must be considered a zero sum game, so that only one wins and the other one loses,” he said, though added he was prepared to make the two-decades-old deal, which also includes Canada, better for both nations.

Trump was also told by his host that Mexicans deserve everybody’s respect wherever they are, in an apparent reference to the GOP nominee’s harsh rhetoric towards undocumented migrants.

Trump, who listened to his host’s long remarks with a somber look on his face while a woman stood beside him at the podium translating for him, said that Mexicans were “spectacular” people when it was his turn to talk.

But he laid bare disagreements between the two men when he said it was imperative to stop the “tremendous outflow” of jobs from the United States over the southern border, and that NAFTA had benefited Mexico more than the US. And he stood up for America’s right to build a “physical barrier or wall” on its territory to stop illegal immigration and drug traffickers. Trump warned that NAFTA would have to be renegotiated.

Trump’s calls for deporting all undocumented workers, labeling many Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” and plan to build a wall along the border — that Mexico would pay for — have earned him withering criticism from Peña Nieto, as well as many independents and moderate Republicans.

But they are central pillars of his campaign, which has galvanized his white working class base behind his White House bid. Those most fervently opposed to immigration have pushed back against the rumored “softening” in his stance that he could articulate on Wednesday night.

Trump, speaking from prepared remarks, was far more measured than in his campaign trail appearances. Though he mostly stuck his positions on renegotiating NAFTA and halting illegal immigration, he was also conciliatory. He referred to illegal immigration from Central America rather than just from Mexico. He said a secure border barrier would benefit both nations. And he spoke of the flight of jobs not from the United States but from also from Mexico and Central America to overseas economies.

It is not unusual for presidential candidates to venture abroad during a campaign. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made trips to bolster their foreign policy credentials in 2008 and 2012.

But Trump’s approach — like the rest of his campaign — is highly unorthodox. Presidential candidates do not typically show up in foreign capitals for talks with leaders without intense preparation and highly choreographed game plans. Often, the parameters of a meeting are settled in advance. This trip was announced Tuesday night.

In addition, they usually visit strong allies where they are assured of a warm reception that will make for positive media coverage rather than sitting down with a leader who has compared them to Hitler and has disparaged their policy proposals.

Trump’s style, however, is more impulsive and unpredictable. He had never before met a foreign leader in an official capacity. So his trip represented something of a risk. Even though the meeting with Peña Nieto was private, he has no control over how the Mexican leader will address the public and how his officials will brief journalists about it afterward.

The trip was also unusual for not including his traveling press corps and coming against the advice of US diplomats.

The campaign’s decision to travel to a foreign country — one rife with security risks for a candidate who has stoked tensions with his rhetoric on Mexican immigrants — without reporters following close behind marks an unprecedented moment in the coverage of major party presidential nominees.

In addition, staff at the US Embassy in Mexico advised the Trump campaign against making such a hastily arranged trip, suggesting it would be logistically difficult to organize on such short notice, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

(h/t CNN)

Trump Outlines Stupid Plan To Get Mexico To Pay For Border Wall

Great Wall of Trump

Donald Trump announced he would use a federal anti-terrorism surveillance law as a tool to force Mexico to pay for the border wall he has pledged to build on the U.S.’s southern border.

Trump outlined the steps his administration would undertake to compel Mexico to pay the U.S. “$5-10 billion” to fund a border wall in a memo his campaign released Tuesday morning — a plan that relies largely on threatening to bar undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States from wiring money to relatives in Mexico.

Using a broad interpretation of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, Trump writes in the memo that he would threaten to issue new regulations that would compel money transfer companies like Western Union to verify a client’s identity and legal status before authorizing a wire transfer.

Trump’s plan reads just like how he talks.

  1. Day 1, broaden a provision in the Patriot Act, a (shitty) law used in the fight against terrorism, to include wire transfers. Also include a requirement that no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States. So if you are brown skin then Trump’s plan requires you to first provide proof of citizenship to wire money to Mexico.
  2. Mexico waits 24 hours to complain. No really here is the exact quote, “On day 2 Mexico will immediately protest.” It goes on to claim without citation that “they” receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States, mostly from illegal aliens.
  3. Day 3, Trump publicly threatens the Mexican government to pay for the wall now, otherwise he will enact tariffs so harsh it will hurt both economies.
  4. Enact trade tariffs that will hurt both economies should the Mexican government not comply. And to quote, “Mexico needs access to our markets much more than the reverse, so we have all the leverage and will win the negotiation.”
  5. Threatens to cancel visas.
  6. Threatens to increase visa fees which Trump claims would pay for the wall all by itself.

The memo then concludes by blaming Mexico directly for crime, drugs, and the costs to the legal system from prosecution and incarceration.

Mexico has taken advantage of us in another way as well: gangs, drug traffickers and cartels have freely exploited our open borders and committed vast numbers of crimes inside the United States. The United States has borne the extraordinary daily cost of this criminal activity, including the cost of trials and incarcerations. Not to mention the even greater human cost. We have the moral high ground here, and all the leverage. It is time we use it in order to Make America Great Again.

Reality

Here’s the really stupid thing about Trump’s plan. If I’m a person who entered this country illegally, and live in this country illegally, what makes him think that I would only resort to purely legal ways of sending money back home. If a black market exists to get me here, why wouldn’t a black market exist to send my money back? And like most illegal immigrants I stay away from criminal elements, why not instead legally send a check or pre-paid Visa card in the mail? If you stop and think about each one of Trump’s proposals, it gets defeated with simple logic.

The sad fact is Donald Trump is single-handedly destroying the United State’s relationship with our 3rd largest trading partner. Our economy with Mexico is so intertwined that a goal to force economic hardships will amount to shooting ourselves in the foot. Look around your room,in your garage, or in your fridge, without a doubt you are looking at something that you purchased inexpensively and was made entirely or in part in Mexico. Now image you paid more for all of those things you see all because Donald Trump raised tariffs.

Furthermore, to bastardize an already questionable anti-terror law to require anyone who wishes to send money outside of the United States to first prove their citizenship could place an undue burden on that individual and would be difficult to prove that it is not illegal or unconstitutional.

Now about the actual cost. As we’ve discussed before, The Great Wall of Trump will not cost $10 billion but $25 billion plus $750 million every year for maintenance.  Let’s forget for a moment the illogical conclusion that blocking person-to-person money transfers will somehow effect the the Mexican government so drastically it will cause Enrique Nieto cave in and pay for a wall. Mexico does not receive $24 billion per yer in remittances as Trump claimed, but instead $19.9 billion.

There is a problem with that $19.9 billion number as it includes all remittance outflow to Mexico from both citizens and illegal immigrants. The real number, according to The World Bank for money transfers to Mexico from migrants is only $7 billion per year. It would take 4 years of unconstitutionally and magically collecting wire transfers until we would break even, and at that point the damage to both of our economies would be felt by the average American.

Links

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/05/politics/donald-trump-mexico-wall-pay/index.html

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/pay-for-the-wall

Trump Repeats Debunked Wall Claims in Fox News Town Hall

During a Wisconsin Town Hall with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren, Trump again repeated comments long debunked, and never addressing those criticisms.

On immigration, Trump says he is “totally in favor of immigration” but people have to come in legally. He says he will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. “It’ll be so easy,”

To much applause from the Fox News audience, Trump went on to claim it would take around $10 billion to build.

Reality

As we’ve documented, the Great Wall of Trump won’t be around $10 billion but instead closer to $25 billion plus maintenance costs of $750 million per year.

The claim that he can use a trade deficit with Mexico to force them to pay for a wall should enlighten you that Donald Trump does not understand how the world works. A trade deficit, which is also referred to as net exports, is an economic condition that occurs when a country is importing more goods than it is exporting.

The deficit equals the value of goods being imported minus the value of goods being exported, and it is given in the currency of the country in question. For example, assume that the United States imports from Mexico $800 billion dollars worth of goods, while exporting to Mexico only $750 billion dollars. In this example, the trade deficit, or net exports, with Mexico would be $50 million dollars.

In our example the holder of that $50 million dollars is the private (and probably some public) companies operating in Mexico, not the Mexican government. Essentially Trump is demanding that the Mexican government to pay for a wall with money that he should know it doesn’t have ownership of.

Media

Links

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/04/03/live-updates-trump-holds-wisconsin-town-hall/

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