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Today, President Donald Trump will declare the situation at the southern border a national emergency, and siphon away an estimated $8 billion from other agencies to build a border wall.
On the campaign trail, Trump frequently boasted that Mexico would pay for his border wall, a claim that was always dubious and is clearly false.
However, one U.S. senator is bravely holding on to that dream: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
In an op-ed in the Washington Post published last night, Cruz announced he was reintroducing his Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act (which spells out EL CHAPO, get it?), to make sure that the U.S. government uses civil asset forfeiture to take the profits of the Sinaloa cartel to pay for the wall.
Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo, was convicted this week on 10 counts related to his running Mexico’s largest drug cartel. In the op-ed, Cruz addresses the scope of Sinaloa, saying its profits could easily pay for a wall.
The former leader of the murderous Sinaloa cartel made a killing from the death, addiction and misery he trafficked, to the tune of $14 billion in ill-gotten revenue across the cartel’s operations. These criminal assets, which are forfeit to the federal government, should be used to stop future criminals such as El Chapo, and to protect Americans from the suffering that cartels and gangs such as MS-13 continue to export around the world.
This is the second time Cruz has introduced an El Chapo bill to the U.S. Senate, doing so in 2017.
While the U.S. government has said they would attempt to undertake some form of civil forfeiture effort against the Sinaloa cartel, there are some major obstacles to seizing that money.
First, and probably the most insurmountable and the reason this effort is no more than a stunt, is that those assets are in Mexico, and belong to Mexico. Cruz’s op-ed doesn’t discuss how it would get Mexico to fork over money for a border wall that they’ve, uh, already repeatedly refused to pay for.
It was a take that didn’t fly online.
Exporting civil asset forfeiture is galaxy brain Ted Cruz. https://t.co/bjtPKczDjw— wizden (@secretmoderator) February 15, 2019
We live in the dumbest timeline https://t.co/09syz0xtDi— ⓔⓛⓛⓔⓝ (@ellenwalex) February 15, 2019
This is the hottest take, straight from the Zodiac Killer himself, AND with an acronym tortured enough to make even an astronomer proud... https://t.co/XJUmbdicIo— Sarah Tuttle (@niais) February 15, 2019
Ted Cruz: Make ‘El Chapo’ pay for the wall— David J Peterson 🌊🆘 #resist (@dpeter9898) February 15, 2019
Sit down Ted your stupidity is showing! https://t.co/xvhBxKFwdn
When the bill was first introduced, Forbes interviewed a number of experts who considered the plan essentially impossible. In 2017, the bill died in committee.
But that hasn’t stopped Cruz from reintroducing it.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]