President Obama said today he is "constantly" fielding questions about the proposals put forth by the Republican presidential candidates, emphasizing "that it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals" that have gotten the attention of world leaders.
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The president said he's also hearing concerns that Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposals “are just as draconian when it comes to immigration.”
Obama then responded to a question by ABC News on Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S-Mexican border.
“This is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption,” Obama said. “I've tried to emphasize throughout [that] we've got serious problems here. We've 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, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account.”
In his plan released today, Trump claimed he will "compel" Mexico to pay for a border wall by blocking remittances and canceling visas unless Mexico makes a one-time payment of $5 billion to $10 billion to the U.S.
"The cost of a border wall is nothing compared to the hundreds of billions we spend year after year providing services and benefits to illegal immigrants," Trump said in a press release, while claiming that Mexico has “taken advantage” of the United States for years with "criminal activity."
Obama said Trump's proposal would also have implications for the Mexican economy, and as a result, more immigrants may enter the United States “because they can’t find jobs in Mexico."
“The implications with respect to ending remittances, many of which by the way are from legal immigrants and from individuals who are sending money back to their families, are enormous,” Obama said. “First of all, they're impractical. We just talked about the difficulties of trying to enforce huge outflows of capital. The notion that were going to track every Western Union bit of money that's being sent to Mexico -- good luck with that.”