Donald Trump has been busy signing executive order after executive order during his first week as the 45th President of the United States. Just days into his presidency, Trump signed an executive action aimed at “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”.
Since signing the executive order, the country has been in uproar over the Muslim travel ban, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and cabinet confirmations, but the question still remains, who will pay for Trump’s wall of hate?
The immigration executive action called for increased border patrol personnel, empowering local law enforcement to perform the duties of immigration officers, ending sanctuary cities, and the immediate construction of a physical wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. The wall announcement is taking Trump’s campaign promise of a “big, beautiful wall” one step closer to becoming reality. Protests around the country erupted. The Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, released a video on twitter denouncing Trump’s executive action and reiterating that Mexico will not pay for the wall. Peña Nieto then cancelled his visit to the White House as a result of Trump’s threats.
The Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, suggested that if Mexico won’t pay for the Wall, perhaps a 20% tax on Mexican products would pay for the estimated $15-$40 billion bill to construct the wall. A tax on Mexican imports would not pay for the wall; rather American consumers would be forced to pay more products we import from Mexico. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, we import $21 billion of agricultural products, including tomatoes, avocados, wine and beer. Every day Americans would be forced to pay 20% more for products they use every day, and their tax dollars would still be funding the construction of the wall.
Later, the White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, suggested that we could be reimbursed through an import tax, or tax reform, or a tax on drug cartels, or by fines on people who are here illegally, or some concoction of all the above.
The reality is that Trump has already told us who will be paying for the wall—the American taxpayer. The executive order clearly outlines for federal funds to be allocated for the planning, designing and construction of the wall. Furthermore, the executive action also calls for the preparation of congressional budget request for long-term funding requirements of the wall. Nowhere on the executive order does it outline the administration’s intentions to have Mexico pay for the wall or for Mexico to reimburse us at a later date.
Trump’s announcement at the Department of Homeland Security was carefully crafted with pauses for applause. When silence followed a punch line, Trump waited for applause before continuing with details of his executive action.
Donald Trump does not care about the American taxpayer; he only cares about their praise. Clap for him, and he will tell you what you want to hear. He will continue to string us along, basking in praise from his supporters for what they believe is Trump making good on his campaign promises. He will keep telling the American public that Mexico will pay for the wall, reimburse us at a later date. “Believe me,” he will say, but the writing on the wall says different.