Jorge Castañeda: Trump Could Easily Make Mexico Pay For The Wall
At least Jorge Castañeda can see several actual ways to make Mexico pay for Trump’s border wall. Do you think Trump will actually build the wall though?
Jorge Castañeda, who served as Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs from 2000 to 2003, and who is currently a professor at New York University, appeared at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Wednesday. Castañeda, who cuts a debonair, cosmopolitan figure, exploded a couple of bits of received wisdom in his address.
Castañeda is certainly no fan of Donald Trump—he said that the property magnate’s ascension to the U.S. presidency would be a “tragedy.” Yet he also said that Donald Trump could quite easily “make Mexico pay” for a border wall—a claim that has been widely ridiculed by our betters in the media.
“If [Trump] really wants Mexico to pay for the wall, he has many ways of getting many Mexicans to pay for the wall,” Castañeda said in an auditorium sitting directly across the street from Trump’s newly opened Pennsylvania Avenue hotel.
He could “increase the fee for visas, which is a decision made by the State Department, not by Congress,” Castañeda continued. He could “increase the toll on the bridges [between the two countries]. . . again, not done by Congress.”
Castañeda also suggested that Trump could tax remittances from the U.S. to Mexico: “There are ways of doing it,” he said, “transaction fees, commissions, special fees etc.” He labeled a recent resolution in the Mexican Senate to bar the use of Mexican federal funds for construction of the wall as “silly.” (Somebody tell Castañeda’s old boss!)
Earlier in his address, Castañeda dissembled another bit of received wisdom—that Mexican immigration into the United States has “reversed.”
“There’s a fallacy involving the [Mexican immigration] situation . . . that well-intentioned American experts have sold people on,” he said. “This is this famous ‘net zero immigration from Mexico’ thing: [The notion that] all of the sudden a few years ago all of the Mexicans in the United States started going home, and Mexicans in Mexico stopped coming here, so now we have net-zero.
“Well, you have net-zero if you consider President Obama’s 1.5 million Mexican deportees as voluntary returnees,” he continued, “Yes, then you have net-zero . . .If you had not deported those million and a half . . . then you would have roughly a million and half more Mexicans here.” More