Donald Trump threatens to freeze immigrants’ cash

Donald Trump would force Mexico to pay for a border wall by cutting off billions of dollars in remittances sent by immigrants living in the US.

The Washington Post cited a two-page memo sent by the Republican presidential front-runner outlining how he would force Mexico to pay for the 1,600km wall if he becomes president.

In his proposal, Mr Trump threatened to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law, to cut off funds sent to Mexico through money transfers known as remittances.

Mr Trump said he would withdraw the threat if Mexico makes “a one-time payment of $5bn-$10bn” to finance the wall, the newspaper reported.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a non-profit research organisation, the US is home to more than 12m Mexicans, some living there illegally. They and other migrants use money transfer agents or banks to send money home, often with the objective of supporting their families.

The Mexican central bank reported that money sent home by Mexicans overseas hit nearly $24.8bn last year, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income. Cutting off those transfers would therefore represent a significant blow to Mexico’s economy.

In his memo, entitled ‘Compelling Mexico to Pay for the Wall’, Mr Trump said that “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens”.

The billionaire businessman had previously provided few details on his proposed border wall with Mexico, saying only that it would cost between $10bn and $12bn, and that he would make Mexico pay for it.

Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto has said his country will not pay for any such wall. In an interview last month, Mr Pena Nieto compared Mr Trump’s rhetoric to that of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, saying language like his has led to “very fateful scenes in the history of humanity.”

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has begun wearing a bulletproof vest following a string of threats and growing violence at rallies, according to New York Magazine.

“People who know Trump say they’ve never seen him so tired,” wrote reporter Gabriel Sherman. “Several months ago, he began wearing a bulletproof vest, two sources close to the campaign told me, which has added to his discomfort on the stump, leaving him sweaty and spent after events.”


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