Amid the wrangling over who – if anyone — will pay for America’s southern border wall, now comes Mexican drug lord El Chapo. Facing criminal trial in federal court later this year, the captured narcotics kingpin could be ordered to forfeit $14 billion from his drug cartel.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants the ill-gotten gains earmarked for enhanced border security, including a border wall. Cruz’s El Chapo Act states:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, which are criminally forfeited to the United States government as a result of the conviction of Mr. Guzman Loera in federal district court, shall be reserved for security measures along the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall.”
A companion measure – H.R. 2186 – has been introduced in the House.
Since El Chapo’s notorious cartel operated out of Mexico, the appropriating bills are, well, appropriate. And because the bulk of illegal narcotics in this country arrive via Mexico, one could argue that future forfeitures should be handled the same way.
To be clear, drug-asset seizures cannot be the sole source of funding for immigration enforcement endeavors. But the El Chapo Act would be a welcome down payment on a wall that Congress continues to slow-walk and shortchange. It’s a no-brainer, even on Capitol Hill.