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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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APRIL 2, 2017

     A group of House Republicans on Thursday introduced the first major bill to fund President Trump’s border wall, saying the government could collect billions of dollars by imposing a 2 percent fee on all the money Mexicans and other immigrants send back home.  Estimates vary, but remittances from those in the U.S. to their relatives back home could top $130 billion a year. A 2 percent tax could net more than $2 billion a year if it applied to all money regardless of who’s sending it.

     “This bill is simple — anyone who sends their money to countries that benefit from our porous borders and illegal immigration should be responsible for providing some of the funds needed to complete the wall,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, said in a statement. “This bill keeps money in the American economy, and most importantly, it creates a funding stream to build the wall.”

     The World Bank puts remittances from the U.S. at more than $50 billion a year. A Pew Research Center analysis puts the figure at $133 billion in 2015. Mexico is one of the biggest beneficiaries, with $24 billion alone going from the U.S. to its southern neighbor in 2015, making it one of Mexico’s top sources of income. China and India rounded out the top three countries.  Remittances also account for a huge percentage of the economies of Central American countries.

     The U.S. has one of the lowest costs to send money home, at about 6 percent of the payment. Canada’s rate is twice that, while the world’s other big economies hover around 8 percent.  Mr. Trump during the campaign hinted at remittances as one option for footing the bill for his border wall.  Remittances are also a source of money that doesn’t offer much chance for retribution against Americans. Pew said that while $133 billion was shipped abroad in 2015, Americans sent only $7 billion back to the U.S. in remittances that year.

     This is an easy idea to go forward with - Mexico will pay the most and thereby the wall.

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