Tuesday at the White House press briefing, President Barack Obama addressed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to cut off funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, called remittances, unless Mexico payed for the border wall.
Obama dismissed the viability of Trump’s plan and argued it would increase immigration into the United States from Mexico.
“I’ve been clear earlier that I’m getting questions constantly about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made,” Obama said. “I have to emphasize it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals. You’re hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz’s proposals—in some ways, just as draconian when it comes to immigration, for example. The implications with respect to ending remittances, from legal immigrants and from individuals sending money back home to their families, are enormous. First of all, they’re impractical. We just talked about the difficulties of trying to enforce huge outflows of capital. The notion we’re going to track every Western Union of money sent to Mexico—good luck with that.”
“Then we’ve got the issue of the implications for the Mexican economy,” he continued. “Which in turn, if it’s collapsing, sends more immigrants north because they can’t find jobs back in Mexico. But this is one more example of something that is not thought through and primarily put forward for political consumption. And as I try to emphasize throughout, we got serious problems here. We got big issues around the world. People expect the president of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously and put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account. They don’t expect half baked notions out of the White House. We can’t afford that.”
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