Rep. Mike Rogers, who represents Alabama's 3rd Congressional District that includes Auburn, introduced HR 1813, titled Border Wall Funding Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, March 30.
The Border Wall Funding Act would impose a 2 percent tax on all remittances — or wire transfers — sent from residents in the United States to recipients in more than 40 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
“In order to jumpstart the funding of the wall, I have introduced a bill to impose a 2 percent fee on remittances sent south of the border,” Rogers said Thursday. “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. This bill keeps money in the American economy, and most importantly, it creates a funding stream to build the wall.”
Rogers cited the large amounts of money the countries receive in remittances as a reason for the tax in a statement released by his office Thursday, saying wire transfers are "commonly used by illegal immigrants to move money from the U.S. to their home countries."
Mexico received almost $25 billion in remittances in 2015, with 98 percent of that coming from the United States, according to The Economist.
In March of 2016, President Donald Trump proposed a similar measure of threatening to alter the flow of remittances to Mexico in a memo sent to The Washington Post.
The memo detailed a multi-phase plan to coerce Mexico into contributing funding for a wall on the American-Mexican border. The administration would introduce a rule change to outlaw aliens wiring money outside the country unless the "alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States."
In the final step, the Trump administration would inform Mexico that if the Mexican government contributed a certain amount of money to the construction of the wall, the regulation would not go into effect.
Rogers' bill and Trump's proposal differ in that Rogers' bill affects all remittances flowing to the listed countries in the bill, not just those coming from aliens.
“President Trump has made it very clear that he intends to complete a wall along our Southern border," Rogers said. "As a senior member of the Homeland Security committee, I have long supported the border wall, which will protect Americans.”
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