January 25, 2018

Cassidy: Build the Wall and Make Drug Traffickers Pay for It

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Build the wall and make drug traffickers pay for it — Democrats and Republicans should support this

By Sen. Bill Cassidy

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[T]he president has said he’s willing to make a deal: if Democrats will support real, permanent border security, remove incentives for future illegal immigration, and modernize our immigration system, the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients can receive legal status so they no longer have to live in limbo.

President Trump’s position is very reasonable – so it’s puzzling that Washington Democrats have so far refused this deal. After all, they supported many of these same measures just a few years ago.

In 2013, 54 Senate Democrats – including Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois – voted to build a wall on our southern border, end the diversity visa lottery, double the number of border agents, and move toward a merit-based immigration system.

In 2006, then-Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden voted to increase the size of the border wall. Democrats should support these same ideas again so that we can come to an agreement that is good for DACA recipients and the American people.

Cost should not get in the way of building the wall and securing the border either. Congress should think creatively.

Here’s one potential solution we could consider: it’s estimated that billions upon billions of dollars a year are moved across the border by drug traffickers laundering their cash. Money is the primary motivation for selling drugs, and a root cause of our nation’s opioid epidemic. But even now, the federal government intercepts only a tiny fraction of that money.

If agencies like Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Treasury improved their information sharing, leveraged big data and ramped up apprehension efforts, we may be able to seize billions of dollars from drug traffickers, strike a major blow against the illicit opioid supply, and fully pay for construction of the wall and additional border security measures. …

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