WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Trump flew to Mexico City and held an hour of talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena-Nieto. Afterwards, Pena-Nieto said he had made clear the Mexican government would not contribute to the cost of raising a new or extended border wall.
"There is clearly already a wall of sorts along the border," University of Houston Chair of History and African American Studies Professor Gerald Horne said on Thursday. "The question is, can Trump carry out his vow to make Mexico pay for it if he is elected president?"
However, if Trump wins the US presidential election on November 8 he would be able to explore other ways to try and fulfill his repeated promise that he would get Mexico to finance the building of the wall, Horne observed.
"There are several options Trump could attempt if the Mexican government, as expected, would refuse to pay for increased US border construction. Trump could seek to tax Mexicans crossing the border," Horne noted.
Trump could also attempt to impose a tax on the more than $20 billion in remittances that the estimated 11 million Mexicans living in the United States send home to their families every year, Horne suggested.
In 2015, Mexico's central bank reported that citizens living outside the country, almost all in the United States, sent home nearly $24.8 billion in remittances, a sum greater than the foreign income generated by oil revenues that year.
However, Horne cautioned that Trump might not be able to persuade Congress to vote for such new taxes.
"Such moves are theoretically possible but they would remain unlikely even if Trump is elected. He may face a filibuster in Congress if he tries to introduce legislation to impose such additional taxes. Or he may simply find enforcing such schemes would prove to be unworkable," Horne said.
Institute for Policy Studies Associate Fellow Manuel Perez-Rocha told Sputnik that any effort to impose new taxes on Mexicans working in the United States or on those crossing the border would inflict additional burdens.
"Trump has vilified Mexicans and he continues to promise that he will build a wall between our countries," Perez-Rocha said. "Trump's solutions will only make the current problems worse."
Perez-Rocha said the original 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pushed through by then US-President Bill Clinton, the husband of current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, had proven disastrous for the Mexican people.
"Ordinary Mexicans have been the biggest losers of this trade deal. It devastated the Mexican countryside, bankrupted thousands of small businesses and destroyed entire national industries," Perez-Rocha noted.
The immigration issue was closely linked to the free migration of labor imposed under NAFTA, Perez-Rocha added.
Trump in a speech on Wednesday said that there must be "zero tolerance for criminal aliens" and promised to triple the number of deportation officers and border patrol agents by 5,000, as well as to block funding for sanctuary cities.
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