With the White House and Congress at an impasse in terms of the border wall and how to fund it — or rather, whether it should be funded at all — Sen. Ted Cruz jumped into the fray with his own plan to secure funding for the barrier.
In fact, it would go back to Trump’s original plan: Make Mexico pay for it. Or rather, make one specific Mexican pay for it.
You might get a bit of an idea of how he plans to pay for it by sussing out the acronym of the “Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act,” or EL CHAPO.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Texas Republican re-introduced a bill on Tuesday that would take assets seized from drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and redistribute them toward building the wall. That’s a lot of money, considering that the U.S. government is seeking to recover $14 billion from the drug lord.
“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 in a written statement.
“Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities,” he added. “We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”
Whether or not anywhere near to that money can be recovered — most of it has been laundered in various ways and exists all off-the-books, which means that number could be wildly inaccurate — it’s still a unique way to approach funding a border wall.
And, most importantly for meme-makers, Chuck Norris approves.
“I have written many articles over the years, but I have never written an article more important than this one. While Democrat and Republican leaders in Washington are polarized and in gridlock over how to pay for a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is a Lone Ranger with a Tonto-sized idea riding into town to get the job done in a way that would cost taxpayers nothing at all,” Norris wrote this week at WND.
“If you didn’t know, El Chapo is almost entirely responsible for the majority of drugs that come up through the U.S. southern border. As the co-founder and head of the Sinaloa Cartel, he is the #1 supplier of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines into the U.S. If you or your loved ones have ever tried or been addicted to illegal drugs, odds are they originated from the Sinaloa Cartel.
“Consider that in just four shipments of drugs, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels said in his opening argument that El Chapo had sent ‘more than a line of cocaine for every single person in the United States.’ That amounts to over 328 million lines of cocaine in just four shipments.”
But the important question is, does the American government have the kind of reach to get that kind of money from the drug lord?
Norris noted the case against, made in part by Dolia Estevez at Forbes.
“The 33-page indictment against El Chapo, filed in 2016 at the U.S. Eastern District of New York, does not dissect the $14 billion,” she wrote.
“It simply says that upon conviction, the U.S. will seek forfeiture of any property or contractual rights derived from the continuing criminal enterprise, ‘including but not limited to at least approximately a sum of money equal to $14 billion in United States currency.’”
“But David Gaddis, a former chief of enforcement operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), explained that the $14 billion ‘is a cumulative figure and based on his drug trafficking enterprise,'” Norris pointed out. “Gaddis said that between DEA and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), ‘many companies associated with it are implicated in the money laundering aspect and will be targeted. …’”
Norris also noted that CNN had said estimates for an all-concrete wall could be as low as $12 billion, meaning that theoretically the wall could be paid for if the government was especially successful in extracting money from the criminal enterprises of El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel.
“Think of the impact passing the EL CHAPO Act could have,” Norris wrote. “First, El Chapo’s drug monies could fully fund the completion of the entire U.S. southern border wall without a single dime more from the federal government or American taxpayers. Second, simultaneously the majority of El Chapo’s own drug trafficking into our country would be greatly diminished using his own monies. Third, president Trump could fulfill his primary campaign promise. Fourth, the Democrats would be able to open their government the same day the EL CHAPO Act passed.
“Let it be clear: Passing that single bill could be the compromise they all are looking for, and it is the best win-win-win-win solution the Congress and president could ever enact!”
This seems exceptionally sanguine, although it would provide everyone with a convenient way out and a roadmap to start funding the wall. It could reopen the government and at least establish a positive starting point for negotiations over border security, particularly at a point where the impasse seems just as elephantine as it was back in December.
And, at the very least, Ted Cruz seems impressed with Norris’ analysis.
.@chucknorris: “Passing [@tedcruz’s] bill could be the compromise they all are looking for, and it is the best win-win-win-win solution the Congress and president could ever enact!” —> https://t.co/qOhjUuUfCE
— Team Cruz (@TeamTedCruz) January 9, 2019
Now the ball is in Congress’ court.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.