Ted Cruz Is Right: Make El Chapo Pay for the Wall
It would be poetic justice, is deliciously named, and wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. It doesn’t make Mexico pay for the wall, just one particular Mexican who has done great injury to the people of the United States and who is responsible for a major part of drugs flooding into the United States.
It is legislation introduced by Sen.Ted Cruz of Texas last year -- the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (E.L.C.H.A.P.O.) Act which would use fund confiscated from drug dealers like El Chapo and traffickers to pay for border security. As Cruz explained after introducing his bill in April of 2017:
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill calling for the use of $14 billion seized from cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to be used to pay for the President’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” Senator Cruz stated, according to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the senator’s office…
The Texas senator said that leveraging criminally forfeited assets from El Chapo and other Mexican cartel members and drug dealers can “offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”
Some might dismiss this idea as a campaign gimmick intended to help Cruz in his tough 2018 reelection bid, but it is an idea whose time has definitely come. El Chapo is responsible for many crimes against his people and ours, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry using a weapon supplied by presidential wannabe and former Obama AG Eric Holder:
We assume Holder reads the morning paper and has heard of the 40 assault weapons illegally purchased under the Phoenix ATF's Fast and Furious operation that somehow wound up in the home of Sinaloa cartel enforcer Torres "the Jaguar" Marrufo. If he has, we suspect his reaction might have been akin to that of another famous sitcom character, Steve Urkel: "Did I do that?"
This is no sitcom, but rather a major tragedy -- and a major crime. Marrufo is the enforcer for Sinaloa Cartel chieftain Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa cartel just 10 miles from the Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz.
Among the weapons Obama and Holder supplied El Chapo with under Fast and Furious was a .50-caliber rifle liberals like to rail against: As Fox News reported about Mexican drug kingpin “El Chapo”:
A .50-caliber rifle found at Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman’s hideout in Mexico was funneled through the gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News.
A .50-caliber is a massive rifle that can stop a car or, as it was intended, take down a helicopter…
Federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that ‘El Chapo’ would put his guardsmen on hilltops to be on guard for Mexican police helicopters that would fly through valleys conducting raids. The sole purpose of the guardsmen would be to shoot down those helicopters, sources said.
Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner has proposed similar legislation in the House to spend money seized from the drug cartels to fund a border wall:
"This is a way to fulfill the president's desire to have Mexico pay for the wall," Sensenbrenner, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told the Washington Examiner. "Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that the bad Mexicans would end up paying for the wall, and the bad Mexicans have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crime and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself."…
"The [Drug Enforcement Agency] has estimated that the gross receipts of the Mexican drug trade or somewhere between $19-$29 billion a year," he said. "We don't have to be 100 percent efficient to get the the money we need to completely pay for the wall relatively quickly."
Contrary to claims by Sen. Chuck Schumer that border walls are ineffective, the empirical evidence shows that border walls work and no place is better proof than the Yuma sector in Arizona:
For years, Yuma sector was besieged by chaos as a nearly unending flood of migrants and drugs poured across our border. Even as agents were arresting on average 800 illegal aliens a day, we were still unable to stop the thousands of trucks filled with drugs and humans that quickly crossed a vanishing point and dispersed into communities all across the country…
The bipartisan Secure Fence Act of 2006 -- supported by then-Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and others -- mandated the construction of hundreds of additional miles of secure fencing and infrastructure investments. Yuma sector was one of the first areas to receive infrastructure investments.
We built new infrastructure along the border east and west of the San Luis Arizona Port of Entry in 2006. The existing fence was quickly lengthened, and we added second and third layers to that fencing in urban areas. Lighting, roads and increased surveillance were added to aid agents patrolling the border.
Although there is still work to do, the border in Yuma sector today is more secure because of this investment.
Trump was initially able to begin immediate construction of the border wall and open up bidding for contracts thanks to the 2006 measure signed into law by President George W. Bush and supported by Democrats including then-senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton:
Democrats are already grumbling about Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, though Barack Obama and other leaders in their party voted not so long ago for George W. Bush’s proposal to build a major wall on the border with Mexico.
Bush signed the proposal into law in 2006, after it was passed by huge bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. The law ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct about 700 miles of fencing along the southern border, and authorized the addition of lights and cameras and sensors to enhance security. The law explicitly required the wall to be constructed of “at least two layers of reinforced fencing.”
Two-thirds of the Republican-led House approved the bill, including 64 Democrats, and 80 of 100 senators approved the bill in the Senate.
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 required the construction of 700 miles of new border fence along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for at least two layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras and sensors…” the act said.
It was to be modeled on the success of the border barriers in the San Diego sector of the U.S. border. The operative word was “secure”. Instead of this two-layer secure fence what has been built consists of flimsy pedestrian fencing or vehicle fencing consisting of posts people can slither through.
The two-tier fence in San Diego runs 14 miles along the border with Tijuana, Mexico. The first layer is a high steel fence, with an inner high anti-climb fence with a no-man’s land in between. It has been amazingly effective. According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, illegal alien apprehensions in the San Diego sector dropped from 202,000 in 1992 to 9,000 in 2004.
Cameras and sensors played a part, but the emphasis was on physical barriers and roads that were patrolled by real live border guards, not by robots. Then in 2006, the Democrats took back Congress and, in 2008, the White House.
They saw in unrestricted immigration a means to fundamentally transform the demographics of America and its political landscape. A wave of what some called “undocumented Democrats” would be allowed to flood across the border as ICE was told not to enforce the law. Former border state governor Janet Napolitano, who became DHS secretary, reportedly once said: “You show me a 50-foot fence and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border,” The rest, as they say, is history.
But the consequences of unrestricted illegal immigration soon became too big to ignore and with a candidate willing to touch the new third rail of American politics, border security, a political movement chanting “build the wall” swept Trump into power.
If President Trump compromises the wall into nonexistence, he risks his campaign mantra “build the wall” becoming his “read my lips” ticket to a single term. In Yuma and San Diego fences and walls worked. So will Trump’s wall. Build the wall and make the likes of El Chapo pay for it.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.