A report published Thursday evening suggests that the Trump campaign is considering floating a proposal to use money seized from Mexican drug cartels and people traffickers to pay for the planned border wall.
LifeZette, the conservative website owned by pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham, says that sources within Trump’s team are mulling over the idea in light of the increased scrutiny over how such a wall would be funded.
“A senior Trump policy adviser stressed the proposal was just one of several funding options being discussed and said the idea was not raised during Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.” the report notes.
“Sources close to both the Mexican government and the Trump campaign have confirmed that this proposal exists.” the piece adds.
It is thought that the idea will enable both the US and Mexican governments to politically get behind the idea of securing the border.
“The plan could involve the creation of a ‘joint border security fund,’ where assets seized by law enforcement in both nations are deposited, then deployed for construction and maintenance of the border structure to the benefit of both Mexico and the United States.” the report also notes.
The amount of money seized from the illicit drug trade last year exceeded $8.7 billion, according to an annual Justice Department’s audit. That amount also does not include any money seized from cartels by the Mexican government.
Trump has said that he believes the wall could be built quickly at a cost of $8 to $10 billion. Independent estimates range from $15 billion to $25 billion.
A University of Pittsburg study from three years ago found that the Mexican cartels are profiting to the tune of some $25 to $30 billion dollars annually from drugs alone.
“For decades, the illicit drug and arms trade has endangered and destroyed the lives of countless Mexicans and Americans,” an unnamed Trump advisor is quoted as saying. “It would be sweet justice to use their illegal profits and property for something good.”
During Trump’s visit to Mexico this week, both he and President Peña Nieto agreed that securing the border to combat such massive illegal activity is paramount.
“We need to have an overall focus on the border that deals with undocumented immigrants, the flow of drugs, weapons, and cash all at the same time,” Nieto said.
The media played up the division between Nieto and Trump over funding for the wall, with the Mexican President tweeting that the subject was never discussed, and Trump tweeting that Mexico will be paying for the wall.