President Barack Obama has slammed Donald Trump’s proposal to make Mexico pay for a border wall, but his own administration is spending $75 million for border security on Mexico’s southern border.
Since 2013, the Obama administration, through a partnership with the Mexican government known as the Mérida Initiative, has already spent at least $15 million helping Mexico secure its southern border, according to a nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report.
“With U.S. support, the Mexican government has been implementing a southern border security plan since 2013 that has involved the establishment of 12 advanced naval bases on the country’s rivers and three security cordons that stretch more than 100 miles north of the Mexico-Guatemala and Mexico-Belize borders,” Congressional Research Service wrote in a February 2016 report.
“The State Department has provided $15 million in equipment and training assistance, including NII equipment, mobile kiosks, canine teams, and training for INAMI officials in the southern border region. It plans to spend at least $75 million in that area,” CRC wrote.
INAMI is the Mexico’s National Institute of Migration. NII equipment are X-ray or gamma-ray imaging systems meant to screen cars, trucks and containers.
The State Department website calls the Merida Initiative “an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
The initiative was launched in 2007, and since then Congress has appropriated $2.3 billion to fund the initiative. There are “four pillars” to the program: “disrupting the operational capacity of organized crime,” institutionalizing reforms to sustain the rule of law and respect for human rights in Mexico,” “creating a 21st border,” and “building strong and resilient communities.”
Trump has proposed making Mexico fund the building of a wall on the American southern border. He plans to do this by blocking money transfers from the U.S to Mexico, until the Mexican government spends “a one-time payment of $5–$10 billion.”
Obama has called this proposal “half-baked.” “This is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption,” Obama has said.