Build a wall, make Mexico great again

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE’s impromptu jaunt to Mexico City yesterday was perhaps more timely than people appreciate. Coming up soon is the 10th year anniversary of the Secure Fence Act, the border partition bill voted into law by Congress (only to then be defunded by Congress). Trump’s own plan to erect a fence along the world’s only First and Third-World land border isn’t popular with Mexico’s leadership as seen by former President Vicente Fox’s recent profanity-laden outburst when he was asked about it on U.S. television. Although uncivil, Fox’s eruption wasn’t at all surprising.

More “civil” lines of attack from Mexico against on our attempts to regulate immigration are manifold. The country famously distributes manuals to its poor on how to circumvent our borders, praises Obama for his unilateral amnesty programs, and has attacked in court Arizona’s “show me your papers” law (despite the country having one of its own). According to Fox’s former advisor-turned-social commentator, Fredo Arias-King, the reason for the official hostility’s crystal clear: keeping our southern border unregulated allows Mexico’s kleptocratic rulers to get rid of the country’s “surplus” population, relieving them of having to make much-needed domestic reforms. In other words, a continuous outflow maintains the status quo. This “safety valve” effect should give the more conscientious open-borders-pushers pause. What they are advocating for, i.e. an end to immigration enforcement, amnesty and its concomitant “pulling effects”, etc., quite literally works to remove potential protesters off Mexico’s streets and strangles the country’s long-deferred and much needed revolution. Open-borders with Mexico equals social justice postponed.

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Same goes for Mexico’s plutocrat elite. New York Times-owner Carlos Slim, who himself has called any wall plan “illegal and absurd”, not only depends on the status quo to keep his landline/mobile/broadband monopoly in place (a monopoly which the OECD found overcharges its customers by over $13 billion every year), an open-border with us also fills his pockets as more Mexicans in the U.S. means more in cross-border fees. 

Then there’s the Central American pass-through problem. Mexico’s El Manana newspaper recently published an editorial which called for a Trump-style wall at the country’s southern border (later deleted), writing “[m]any of these migrants when they are unable to find an honest way of life turn to robberies, kidnappings, extortion, and in the worst cases join the ranks of organized crime.” More immigration-regulation on our side means more colonias populares or shantytowns in Mexico populated by unsuccessful illegal immigrants from Central America.

And, of course, there’s the remittances. When the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize two years ago for its series on foreign governments channelling funds into D.C. think-tanks, it wasn’t surprising that Mexico was caught giving money to a group that specializes in remittance-analysis (it also wasn’t surprising that the NYT failed to mention this in its actual piece; only on a linked-to graph). Rather amazingly, the flow of U.S. dollars into oil-rich Mexico is now the single largest contributor to the country’s GDP. When Fox spoke to a joint session of Congress in 2001, he called these dollar-remitting legal and illegal aliens “national heroes.” But, writes Mexico-based U.S. journalist Robert Joe Stout, “the remittances received by Mexican communities enable the government to curtail expenditures for social and education programs [and these] emigrants cost the government nothing, use none of the country’s public assets and yet contribute 30 percent of their earnings to families in Mexico.” This is what Fox really means by “heroes.”

Stout estimates that around half of most state-residents in Mexico depend on remittances as their primary source of income, although this is partly because so many people from those villages, sometimes the majority, have emigrated. According to Stout’s figures, Mexico’s gutting has indeed been thorough. An estimated 40 percent of the rural towns and villages in Mexico have suffered a population loss as high as 70 percent. This, says Stout, has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of single-parent families, homeless, and runaway children (allowing gang membership to proliferate, he says)—A question then for open-borders-pushers on the left is, who is really separating families here?

And using 2010 figures, Stout writes that a full 12 percent of Mexico’s working-age population are now in the U.S., an estimated seven million of whom are here illegally. A question then for open-borders-pushers on the right is, if national economies were so dependent on unskilled, uneducated manual workers, why isn’t Mexico begging for the U.S. to enforce its immigration laws?

Writing in the Atlantic years back, Fox’s minister of foreign affairs, Jorge Castaneda, stated that ending Mexican immigration would “make social peace in the barrios and pueblos [] untenable” and “threaten the only true deterrent to the proverbial wave: Mexican stability.” Castaneda’s correct, but only in part. Turning off the safety valve that keeps protesters on the streets will put pressure on his class only. And that’s good for the whole country.

Smith is an investigative associate with the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.