Make El Chapo Pay for the Wall

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act on Tuesday, intending to cover the cost of the southern border wall by seizing more than $14 billion in drug proceeds from infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.


Texan99 said...

I like it--even though I'm skeptical of the efficacy of a wall. I don't think we need a better thin, brittle perimeter. I think we need a society-wide enforcement of immigration standards, including a populace that actually buys into the distinction between legal and illegal immigration and therefore will treat legal and illegal immigrants differently.

Examining my own conscience, I'm forced to admit that I've never in my life lifted a finger to help the authorities round up an illegal immigrant. I never would, either, unless the immigrant broke a law I cared about. Whether that's right or wrong, the point is that no legal enforcement system works well without the cooperation of citizens at large. It's like trying to live in a bubble instead of relying on a robust immune system.

Tom said...

That's a very, very good point.

Of course, I don't oppose a both-and, wall + a change in social standards, solution.

We also just need sensible immigration laws. We could even make them without solving the illegal immigrant problem we have now; there's no need to wait.

jaed said...

Well, Cruz is a runaway contender for Legislative Acronym of the Year, at least.

A physical wall is a fact on the ground. It's hard to undo it (and impossible to tear it down without people noticing), which is not true of enforcement policy changes. I think that's its attraction. It's definite, physical.

Texan99 makes me think about this: decades ago, we had neither a wall nor society-wide awareness and enforcement of sanctions against illegals. We also didn't have tens of millions of people living in this country illegally, whose allegiance rested elsewhere. Why?

You can say technology changed... except there were cars in 1960, and roads, and people could walk or drive across the southern border easily. More easily than now, considering the surveillance tech we have now.

So what's changed? Maybe we need to track that down and consider changing it back, instead of drawing all of society into helping enforce the immigration laws. People talk about increasing penalties on employers... but I don't like making it even more hazardous to hire someone than it is now. We didn't have nearly as much paperwork for hiring someone sixty years ago, either.

Texan99 said...

I had in mind more an immigration quota we could actually get behind. I think that's the way we're likely to get people to buy into enforcement.

Tom said...

jaed, I don't have the whole answer, but part of it is Americans buying illegal drugs. One of the reasons so many people want to leave Mexico and some other Latin American countries is because drug lords have significant power there. They have made parts of those countries dangerous and have damaged the legal economy. They have the power to do that because American citizens fund it.

I like the wall because it makes it harder for some people to get here illegally, but the wall by itself won't work. As Tex points out, we need buy-in from the citizenry in general, and I think we're only going to get that if we have reasonable immigration laws.

Tex, how would you implement a quota system?

Texan99 said...

Honestly, I have no good ideas about it. My only unformed notion is that, if we had a consensus on how many foreign workers we were willing to absorb, then people would be more willing to say, "You over there, you followed the rules and came in legally. That other guy jumped the line, and I'm willing to see him deported because he doesn't belong here." Right now, it's more like a lottery, where the economy depends on 12 million illegals with, more or less, jobs. We don't really like fingering someone who didn't happen to win the lottery, but who is employed and staying out of trouble. That goes triple for his kids who may not have been born here but have been here since they were little.

The big problem is, of course, that we have no consensus on how many foreigners should be coming in and getting jobs. There is significant resentment about the jobs they are taking. I may be skeptical about that, but I have no moral authority, because I'm not competing for the jobs they're taking. No one's likely to hire me for a roofing job even if I were likely to compete for it.

Tom said...

There are two aspects on the jobs question. First, I recently posted something from a Harvard economist that makes a good argument that most of the benefit of immigration goes to the immigrants themselves and the rest to the businesses that hire them, and that the least educated American workers are the ones hurt by that dynamic.

Second, though, is I know a businessman personally who tried for years hiring American teens and early 20-somethings to work for him and they consistently spent half their time on their cell phones, ignored his instructions, did poor work, etc. Out of disgust, he hired a bunch of illegals to do a quick job and they busted their butts for him and did an excellent job. He never went back.

Not only do we need a consensus on immigration, but education / parenting reform needs to instill that good old-fashioned work ethic in our kids.

Gringo said...

Courtesy of El Chapo, El Cheapo wall. Sounds good to me.