Both Republican lawmakers and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team believed that they had found a way to begin moving forward immediately with Trump’s proposed border wall.
They planned to take advantage of a 2006 law signed by former President George W. Bush that pre-authorized the government to add 700+ miles more of fencing along the southern border.
“The law was never fully implemented and did not include a sunset provision, allowing Trump to pick up where Bush left off — with the help of new money from Congress,” Politico noted.
Critics have noted, however, that building a fence would technically amount to a violation of the president-elect campaign promise to construct a sturdy wall. But according to the Chicago Tribune, the 2006 law described layers of “reinforcing fencing,” which some might argue would be equivalent to a so-called wall.
Either way, pursuing this plan “would allow Congress, without passing a new piece of legislation, to start funding the wall through the normal appropriations process.”
There was one problem. The president-elect had yet to secure any money from Mexico, meaning that Congress would need to pay for the wall with taxpayer funds for the time being.
Writing on Twitter Friday morning, Trump nevertheless assured his followers that the money would “be paid back by Mexico later.”
The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
While it was true that the Mexican government was unlikely to simply hand Trump a check, there were other options available for him to procure the funds.
One included imposing a fee on financial remittances sent home by Mexicans working illegally in the United States, as noted by the Los Angeles Times. Another involved cutting a child tax break proffered to illegal immigrants.
Ideally, both the president-elect and his allies in Congress will approve both funding measures later this month. Building the border wall would indeed be an important feat, but building it with the money of illegal immigrants instead of taxpayers would be just that much better.
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