WASHINGTON — The United states directs an average of $320 million worth of aid a year to Mexico for various programs, every one of which show up to be targets for President Trump as he look at for ways to pay for the proposed border wall with our southern neighbor.

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But specialists say the aid won’t do for lot of a bargaining chip as he tries to goad Mexico right into footing the bill for the wall, and in fact, yanking the aid could backfire entirely.

Trump directed the federal government Wednesday to full the quantity of "direct and indirect Federal aid or help to the government of Mexico top top an yearly basis" in an executive, management order. That came before a series of back-and-forth moves Thursday in which mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto stated his nation would no pay because that the wall surface and canceled a planned meeting with Trump following week. Then the Trump management said it would hit mexico imports through a 20% border tax, and also then reversed ar to say the planned taxation was simply an option.


The biggest chunk that U.S. Aid goes toward law enforcement — including helping mexico authorities record drug lords — supporting renovations to the mexican judicial system and also security, including along Mexico’s southerly border, helping stem the flow of immigrants from main and south America.

“If we reduced off aid to Mexico, we strengthen the drug cartels, us make our border an ar a lot much more lawless place, and also we make it much easier for undocumented immigrant from central America to reach the U.S.-Mexico border,” said mark Jones, a political science professor in ~ Rice university who specializes in Latin America.

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Trump"s executive, management order no specify what the assist information will be offered for, but its consists in the order argues Trump could shot to use it as leverage in negotiations end paying for the wall. White home chief of staff Reince Priebus claimed Thursday there to be "a buffet of options" come pay for the wall.

According come the U. S. Firm for worldwide Development, around a dozen organ directed about $1.6 billion as whole in help to Mexico native 2011 come 2015, the many recent year for which finish data is available.

The State Department, Defense Department and USAID provided the biggest amounts, audit for 95% of the $338 million in aid in 2015. The remainder included much smaller slivers native the departments of Energy, Labor, Interior, and also Health and also Human Services, and also the tranquility Corps, amongst others.

Law enforcement and counter-narcotics campaigns accounted because that $260 million, while support for justice and also legal reforms added up to around $10 million, and military aid bookkeeping for one more $10 million. The other help initiatives in 2015 include:

• $5.7 million for a routine to enhance the competitiveness of mexican businesses and also to improve “environmental policy administration to reduce climate change and keep Mexican biodiversity.”

• $4.4 million to aid with implementation of program to alleviate emissions native deforestation and forest degradation.

• $ 4 million to support Mexican-led initiatives to develop and implement a low-emissions breakthrough strategy.

• $4 million because that crime and violence prevention.

The Bernstein research study group estimated the price for building the southerly border wall could variety from $15 exchange rate to $25 billion. If the United states redirected all of its international aid, at the current annual average, it would take practically 50 year to with the low finish of the range.

Emboldened drug cartels

Nonpartisan specialists and also human rights supporters both say the cutting off assist in the an initial place will certainly embolden the cartels whose drugs currently flow right into the joined States.

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“Those cartels room going to run with a lot more freedom, and also the assets that they develop — heroin, meth amphetamine, cocaine — are small in volume and also don’t must be take away into locations where walls room built, they’ll be taken v ports the entry and also flood the us market,” claimed Adam Isacson, a regional and army security specialist at Washington Office top top Latin America, a research and also advocacy group.

Jones the Rice University claimed the Mexican government believes the drug difficulty is one of U.S. Consumption rather than the cartels themselves, therefore if the United claims cuts aid and our connections turn more hostile, “they’re going come be more likely to rotate a remote eye to cartel task as long as it focuses on exporting come the united States.”

Matthew Taylor, an elderly fellow for Latin America researches at the the supervisory board on international Relations, stated the wall construction order and the test negotiation itself has actually made because that “one the the more disastrous weeks in U.S.-Latin American relations.”

“The more uncertainty we create though this attempt at negotiation, the much more likely the president’s missions will be, will certainly not it is in met -- his goals on security, his missions on migration and also ultimately his goals in terms of financial growth,” Taylor said. “It’s a very uncertain game, except for the an individual electoral missions of the president. That seems favor it’s a really misguided strategic decision.”