Jeopardizing Mexican and Mexican American Investments

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

It looks like the Donald Trump phenomenon is beginning to fade after the Iowa caucuses. But we are not out of the woods yet with Trump and his extremist politics. Recently, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon stated that not only would Mexico not pay for a border wall built by the United States (if, heaven forbid, Donald Trump should ever become president and a border wall is ever built), but that the damage of trying to physically separate Mexico from the United States would be a total disaster for both countries. He said that Mexicans go to the United States to buy billions of dollars of American-made products, and that Mexico imports billions of American-made products every year. Further, the United States imports billions of dollars of Mexican-made products.

Calderon is correct—whatever political and social issues the United States and Mexico may have, the two countries are very much interlinked economically. American corporations have a great deal of investments as well as factories and extensive trade networks established in Mexico. Likewise, Mexican products find their way into the United States, and American-made products find their way into Mexico. Mexican nationals and Americans of Mexican descent have their own small and not-so-small businesses all through the United States that depend on either their American-made products being sold in Mexico or their importing Mexican-made products to be sold in the United States. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is an important part of what exists between the United States and Mexico, but it is not the only thing that connects the two countries. Extensive cross-border travel between Americans and Mexicans, which has been going on for decades, has meant major tourism dollars for both Mexico and the United States.

To build a border wall like what the former Communist East Germany and Soviet Union built during the Cold War would be tantamount to financial suicide and ruin for both Mexico and the United States. It would sever economic and social ties between the two that may never be fully restored. Whole American and Mexican cities along the U.S.-Mexico border might become ghost towns, and the whole U.S. economy might suffer a catastrophic decline as bad or worse than what happened after 9/11 and the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008. On a personal level, think of all the people and small businesses that would be driven to ruin. We cannot even begin to calculate what damage both America and Mexico will suffer if extreme politics becomes the norm throughout our land. It is something American voters should contemplate as we proceed into the presidential elections.

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