A proposal in Congress to build a border wall using the wealth of a ruthless drug kingpin is a reasonable idea, says the spokesman for an immigration watchdog.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced the El Chapo Act, which would give the federal government the authority to seize the drug king pin's $14 billion in ill-gotten gains which could then be earmarked for enhanced border security.
A companion measure, H.R. 2186, has been introduced in the House.
Joaquin Archivaldo "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, 60, is scheduled to stand trial in a federal court later this year in New York City.
"El Chapo" headed the Sinaloa Cartel and its drug empire, becoming Mexico's most powerful kingpin after his rival was arrested in 2003. He has repeatedly been named one of the world's most powerful people by Forbes magazine.
Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, says government agencies seize properties and assets all the time as part of criminal investigations.
"There is no reason," he says, "why that model could not be followed when it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws."
In this particular case, Mehlman says, El Chapo and other drug kingpins have enriched themselves by taking advantage of the porous southern border.
"This would be making the criminals who have profited from the laxly enforced border pay for it, and that ought to be perfectly reasonable," he says. "I can't imagine anybody who would be defending the idea that this drug kingpin should be able to keep all the illicitly made profits that he has seen."