A driving issue in the ongoing presidential election is legal immigration. The unbelievable Obama administration decision to abandon enforcement of existing immigration laws has been a key ingredient to the stew of discontent in the American public.
As part of the abdication of the rule of law, the porous Southern border is problematic. The solution is a mixture of structural blockade, technological monitoring using drones and surveillance, and use of increased border patrol personnel as geography and immigration patterns require.
Most people on the political center-right have resolved to "secure the border" as part of their political stump speeches and platforms. This issue has fueled the ascendancy of one GOP candidate who has proposed building a wall that Mexico will pay for.
While a Southern border wall would be no Trump Tower, businessman-turned-politician Donald Trump has a record of building things and "making things happen."
While much of the voting populace's anger teeters between desperate and irrational, the slowly dwindling field of Republican candidates still fights against the fact: After almost 10 years of promises, elected Republicans have delivered very little and have allowed much of the worst American president's agenda to progress out of fear of public ridicule in the form of name-calling by the national media and the political Left.
But what if there was a way for Mexico to pay for a Southern border fence?
Did you know that in 2015 alone remittances — the transfers of cash from those whose country of origin is Mexico and who are working in the United States to their families in their native country — were almost $25 billion?
The Bank of Mexico reports that last year $24.8 billion in U.S. dollars was returned to the Mexican economy from those working outside of their home country, up from $23.6 billion in 2014. Touted in Mexico News Daily online, this sum exceeds the national income of its petroleum industry, which totaled $23.4 billion in 2015.
What does this mean to you and me, American taxpayers?
Imagine if the economy of the state of South Carolina was immediately zeroed out and its $23.6 billion was gone from the American economy. Or Georgia's $20.6 billion plus the $4 billion-plus economies of Delaware or South Dakota? The response in Washington, D.C., would be aggressive to address the impact of the loss of an entire state's revenue stream.
Yet, in 2015, America lost the equivalent of an entire state's budget to a foreign nation as illegal immigrants sent money home to family. Those who take many of our jobs, attend our public schools, use our hospital emergency rooms and drive illegally on our taxpayer-funded roads, among other services, are benefiting another nation's economy at our expense.
Back to the funding of the wall. Estimates have ranged from a single-layer wall of $8 billion to a Bloomberg Government analysis in 2013 of $28 billion per year to "completely seal the border."
Is it so far-fetched to place a transactional fee on the remittances sent to Mexico from the millions of illegal immigrants working here?
Anger is not the foundation of principled policy. But the invertebrates who can't seem to fulfill their elected duties in protecting America by honoring law-abiding, taxpaying citizens and our rule of law have created this boiling cauldron of frustration.
It's time to solve problems.
Robin Smith, owner of Rivers Edge Alliance and former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, works with political candidates, including Hamilton County Commissioner Marty Haynes and Criminal Court Judge Tom Greenholtz.