With Mexican drug lord El Chapo heading to prison, perhaps for life, his cartel’s prodigious assets are in play. Sen. Ted Cruz still wants the loot directed toward America’s southern border.
El Chapo’s fortune, estimated at some $14 billion, is roughly three times more than President Donald Trump wants for the proposed border wall. With the long arm of the law reaching into the kingpin’s business empire, Cruz says it’s time to seize the moment, and the money.
The Texas Republican introduced the El CHAPO Act (Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act) in April 2017. The Senate did nothing with it. So, with guilty verdicts now in, Cruz re-introduced the bill this week.
Cruz’s measure reserves any “illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera” (El Chapo) for border security measures, which could include a wall. The bill targets funds forfeited by Guzman in his just-concluded trial, as well as future cases involving his former associates.
Congress – which remains gridlocked over border security funding while entertaining votes on an immensely expensive, pie-in-the-sky “New Green Deal” that just popped up — has no excuses for inaction here.
“By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and other murderous drug lords, we can offset the cost of securing our border and make meaningful progress toward delivering on the promises made to the American people,” Cruz said.
To be clear, drug-asset seizures cannot be the sole source of funding for immigration enforcement endeavors. But any proceeds from the El CHAPO Act would be a welcome down payment on a wall and border-security measures that Congress continues to shortchange and obstruct.