Calls for 'El Chapo' to pay for Mexico border wall

- President Donald Trump has repeatedly asserted that he will get Mexico to pay for building a wall at the U.S. border. Trump has even requested that Congress provide U.S. funds to begin the wall.

The latest plan comes from Trump's former rival Sen. Ted Cruz. The Republican from Texas has proposed a bill calling for jailed Mexican drug lord Joachim 'El Chapo' Guzman to fork over $14 billion.

"Build the wall and make El Chapo pay for it," wrote Cruz on Twitter.  "Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will help keep Americans safe."

U.S. prosecutors are seeking a $14 billion forfeiture of illicit profits and other assets from Guzman.

The tweet includes a link to a page on Cruz's website that asks visitors to sign a petition in support of his plan.

The notorious drug kingpin is being held at the Manhattan Correctional Center awaiting trial on murder and drug trafficking charges.

In his bill, the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act, Cruz calls for  "any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of “El Chapo” and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. "

On Tuesday, Mexico's foreign relations secretary called a plan to build a border wall an "unfriendly, hostile" act, adding that it is a "bad idea" that will not accomplish anything.

And while Trump has repeatedly asserted that he will get the U.S.'s neighbor to pay for building the wall, Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray repeated in a meeting with legislators that Mexico's won't pay a cent for it.

Trump had requested that Congress provide U.S. funds to begin the wall, but he signaled Monday that he would not insist on it, saying he might be willing to wait until September for the funding.

Videgaray also said Mexico's government would consider reducing security cooperation with the United States if talks on immigration and trade issues don't go well.

"If the negotiation on other themes - immigration, the border, trade - isn't satisfactory to Mexico's interests, we will have to review our existing cooperation," Videgaray said. "This would be especially in the security areas ... and that involves the national immigration agency, the federal police and of course, the armed forces."

Mexico at present cooperates with the United States in fighting drug cartels and other forms of transnational crime.

Videgaray also said the Mexican government was considering charging a fee for Americans entering the country, though he didn't fully describe the idea or say to whom it might apply.

Asked by a legislator whether Mexico had considered imposing visa requirements for Americans, he answered: "We could explore - not necessarily a visa, that could impede a lot of people from coming to Mexico - but we could perhaps (have) a fee associated with entry. This is something that I'm sure will be part of our discussion, and I believe we can find points of agreement."

With the Associated Press

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