Sen. Ted Cruz introduced legislation this week that would use the $14 billion seized from drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to begin construction on the border wall promised by President Donald Trump.
With Trump saying this week that he would be willing to remove the funding request from the spending bill Republicans must pass this week to keep the federal government open, Cruz is pushing for a new way to fund the wall and make good on Trump’s vow to make Mexico pay for it in one tidy bill.
“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,” Cruz said. “Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities.”
Cleverly titled the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act, the bill would make excellent use of the blood money that comprises El Chapo’s estate.
“The U.S. Government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and illicit profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering,” Cruz said.
There is no guarantee, of course, that the U.S. will ever see those assets in the first place, but we like where Cruz’s head is at on this issue. Whether or not he can get his fellow senators to support the bill – whether or not it is even realistic to pursue border wall funding in this exact way – this is the kind of “outside the box” thinking we should see more of in the Republican Party. We have no doubt whatsoever that President Trump approves of Cruz’s clever scheme.
And this really comes down to finding unique and interesting ways to fund the wall. Trump never suggested that Mexico would line right up to provide the U.S. with a blank check, and no one ever thought that was a possibility. No, this has to be done with a certain amount of wheeling and dealing…which, of course, is exactly what our new president is good at. Why not fund the wall with the profits of drug lords?
It’s an excellent idea.
So, knowing that, don’t hold your breath.