GOP rep: Funds from Mexican cartels can pay for border wall

GOP rep: Funds from Mexican cartels can pay for border wall
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim SensenbrennerJames SensenbrennerHouse panel to hold hearing on online sex trafficking next week Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program House panel strikes deal on surveillance reforms MORE (R-Wis.) says there's a way to fund President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border without sticking either the Mexican government or the American taxpayer with the bill.

“This is a way to fulfill the president’s desire to have Mexico pay for the wall,” Sensenbrenner told The Washington Examiner Tuesday.

“Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that the bad Mexicans end up paying for the wall, and the bad Mexicans have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crimes and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself,” the House Judiciary Committee member added.

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“Saying that we’re going to have the Mexican drug cartels end up paying for the wall, that very well may be something that is powerful enough to get the institutional inertia in the Senate overcome.”

Sensenbrenner said he would propose legislation requiring Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE to review the amount of money seized from drug cartels using the tactic and develop strategies for upping the total.

The Wisconsin lawmaker added half of seized funds would “be made available without fiscal year limitation” for funding the border wall.

“The [Drug Enforcement Agency] has estimated that the gross receipts of the Mexican drug trade are somewhere between $19–29 billion a year,” he said. "We don’t have to be 100 percent efficient to get the money we need to pay for the wall relatively quickly."

"You’ve got a choice of civil asset forfeiture, increasing the deficit or raising taxes on the American people [for funding the wall]. I think that given the choice of three alternatives of how to pay for it, it’s easy to sell mine and not so easy to sell the other two.”

Top Senate Democrats on Monday warned Republicans against including spending for Trump’s wall in budget bills ahead of next month’s government funding deadline.

Trump has long promised Mexico will foot the bill for a wall along America’s southern border, a structure which some estimates say will cost nearly $22 billion.