- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump says one way he plans to get Mexico to pay for his wall along the United States’ southern border is by threatening to effectively block remittance payments from the U.S. that workers send back to the country.

A new plan posted to Mr. Trump’s campaign website outlines a proposal that starts with moving to change a provision in the Patriot Act on identity requirements for financial transactions and accounts and apply it to wire transfers.

The proposed rule would also require Mexican migrants to prove they’re in the U.S. legally before they can wire money outside the United States.

“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: Make a one-time payment of $5 billion to 10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” the plan says.

The frequently-mentioned border wall has come to define part of Mr. Trump’s campaign, and he has repeatedly said he’ll get Mexico to foot the bill.

After proposing the new rule on “day 1,” the plan posits that on “day 2,” “Mexico will immediately protest.”

“They receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States,” it says. “The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens. It serves as de facto welfare for poor families in Mexico. There is no significant social safety net provided by the state in Mexico.”

“On day 3 tell Mexico that if the Mexican government will contribute the funds needed to the United States to pay for the wall, the Trump Administration will not promulgate the final rule, and the regulation will not go into effect,” it says.

The plan, first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, also mentions trade tariffs, canceling visas, and increasing fees on border crossing cards as other potential areas of leverage.

“Conclusion: Mexico has taken advantage of us in another way as well: gangs, drug traffickers and cartels have freely exploited our open borders and committed vast numbers of crimes inside the United States,” his website says. “The United States has borne the extraordinary daily cost of this criminal activity, including the cost of trials and incarcerations. Not to mention the even greater human cost. We have the moral high ground here, and all the leverage. It is time we use it in order to Make America Great Again.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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