Tariffs on Mexico are win as Trump goes it alone to solve border crisis

Tariffs on Mexico are win as Trump goes it alone to solve border crisis
© Getty Images

The new tariffs on Mexico announced by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE are a win for the United States. Even they do not succeed in convincing Mexico to help us solve the border crisis, then at least Americans will experience some economic benefits to offset the enormous costs of illegal immigration.

Mexico has the ability to significantly alleviate the humanitarian and national security crisis on the southern border by strictly enforcing its own strong immigration laws to prevent “caravans” of illegal immigrants from traversing its territory on their way to the United States. With Democrats obstructing his every move to limit the flow of crime and drugs over the border, President Trump is taking every measure to address the crisis on his own, hopefully resulting in Mexico becoming a part of the solution.

President Trump is demanding that our southern neighbor do exactly that by imposing the new 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican goods starting this month unless it takes immediate action to dramatically curtail the endless flow of illegal immigrants. The tariffs will go up by increments of 5 percent at the start of each succeeding month, maxing out 25 percent in October, where they will remain until Mexico takes strong action and “substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”

ADVERTISEMENT

This was a brilliant strategic move as President Trump has orchestrated a scenario in which the United States will benefit no matter what decision Mexico ultimately makes on this issue. The ideal outcome, of course, would be for Mexico to “act swiftly to help the United States stop this long term, dangerous, and deeply unfair problem,” which is what President Trump said he expects to happen, given his reasonable request.

Even if Mexico refuses to help us solve the border crisis, this strategy ensures American communities will begin to make up for the costs they bear in the form of violence, drugs, and other problems tied to illegal immigration. “Should Mexico choose not to cooperate on reducing unlawful migration, the sustained imposition of tariffs will produce a massive return of jobs back to American cities and towns,” President Trump explained, emphasizing companies “will not pay the tariffs or be affected in any way” if they simply relocate to the United States.

Contrary to the fear mongering about the supposed evils of trade wars, we have seen how tariffs can boost our economy. When President Trump imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last year, we were told that the move would devastate the whole economy. Instead, the stock market has reached record highs and domestic steel producers have been enjoying booming business, allowing them to dramatically expand production, invest in new facilities, and hire more workers.

The same thing could happen across a multitude of other industries if Mexico allows the new across the board tariffs to remain in effect for any substantial period of time. For instance, domestic automobile production would likely get an even bigger boost from a 25 percent tariff on Mexico than it will from the provisions contained in the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, which corrects for the trade imbalances that had been created by the original North American Free Trade Agreement.

Our booming economy means we can easily afford to forgo those benefits in exchange for a solution to the border crisis, which itself would provide the United States with a significant economic boost. Our experience with the United States Mexico Canada Agreements negotiations offers good reason to expect that Mexico will be willing to play ball. After all, Mexico capitulated when President Trump used strategic tariffs to induce Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Even if that does not happen, this strategy ensures that the United States will still come out ahead. That is truly a win by a leader willing to take the lead on his own when American lives and prosperity are on the line.

Jan Brewer served as the former governor of Arizona and is an advisory board member for the 2020 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.