There is so much talk, debate and misinformation these days, about this infamous Wal” proposed by President Trump's administration. I wanted to look for more facts and see is building this wall really the solution to illegal immigrants entering the U.S. Also at the end of this article I'll discuss the possible ramifications for Americans in Mexico.
First off, in 2014, 3.5% of the U.S. population were undocumented immigrants and not all from Mexico. According to PEW Research Center, in November 2016 the number of Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. has dropped steadily since 2009 but risen by other foreigners immigrating. In 2014 illegal Mexican immigrants made up 5.8 million which is less than the 6.4 million in U.S. in 2009. Another interesting fact is the majority of illegal immigrants from Mexico have been there for more than 10 years. Only 7% of undocumented Mexicans had been in the U.S. less than 5 years as of 2014.
When I moved to Mexico almost 30 years ago I would say it was a majority of Mexicans feeling that it would be better if they went to the U.S., even if illegally. That is not the case today as I see it. Most of the Mexicans that I know now have little interest in going to the U.S. They feel that have a good if not better opportunity here in Mexico where the incomes are less but so is the cost of living. There are many more young better educated Mexicans graduating from college and going to work at anyone of the new companies to come to Mexico. Yes, some of these companies are from the U.S. but many are from all over the world.
Is the issue really about building a wall or is it about a creating a more secure border and stopping illegal immigration? Is the solution really a wall with all the technology we have today. Is not more prudent to vigil the border with drones, satellites, video, ground sensors for tunneling because even if you have a wall you must watch it.
Well I have had several American friends tell me, the wall is more of a statement than a solution. Well that is one expensive statement. Why not take several billion or more to create a much more secure border through electronic surveillance and then use the rest to deport illegals and or enforce the immigration laws, It seems to me that would make much more of a statement. So let's say even after what looks to be good reasons to look for other solutions to the illegal immigration problem, you still want a wall.
Now, is it really feasible to build a wall along the entire U.S./ Mexico border of 2000 miles. Some experts are saying there is no way you could build a wall down the entire border. With over 700 miles already fenced or walled. what is left? The very rural areas of rough terrain, mountains and then there is the Rio Grand. Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council and a member of Trump's transition team, supports building a wall in strategic locations and reinforcing existing barriers in certain areas, but not where there are natural obstacles, like the Rio Grand river in Texas. What are you going to put a wall down the middle of the river?
In fact some Americans actually live on the Mexican side of the border, where a border wall would go. As reported in The Star; “The River Bend Resort, a golf course and residence in Brownsville, Texas, sits between a gap in the existing fence. If the wall were completed, based on U.S. regulations, it would bisect the property, according to owner Jeremy Barnard. Roughly 200 residents and 15 of the 18 golf holes would sit south of the border wall”.
So building a wall in those areas that have fences or in adequate walls and adding to it in those areas that can be easily walled, makes sense. Keep in mind that even where the U.S. has a walled border, there have been plenty to get by it. Toronto Sun reports, when speaking with an American border guard. “The conversation turns to Donald Trump. He's asked whether Trump's proposed border wall would halt the flow of migrants crossing through California's Yuha Desert. He doubts it. Almost one-third of the border already has a wall -- people still get over. "You'd need to get rid of all the ladders in Mexico," he says.
Former homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano famously remarked, “You show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.” Sounds a little hard to believe but it has been reported that ; “ladder sales in Mexico went up 9000% the day of Trumps inauguration”.
If not over the wall then under it. Using ladders will be a lot easier than digging, but for those who wish for whatever reason, tunneling has become a common way for the cartels to enter the U.S. with their shipments. Several models have the foundation of the border wall sunk five to six feet into the ground. That won't make much difference as demonstrated by the Sinaloa drug cartel's, El Chapo, escape from prison. His henchmen dug the tunnel down 35 feet and a mile long to free the drug kingpin. Obviously, as evidenced by the amount of tunnels already discovered going into the U.S. that there are experts on tunneling in Mexico.
So once again, is a wall the solution? I've heard many say in response, that Mexico has a great wall on the southern border with Guatemala. You know what? That is just viral bull, created by people using social media to create those wonderful “alternative facts”. Mexico definitely has it's own illegal immigration problem on the southern border with people crossing into Mexico, many with the intentions of getting into the U.S. The southern border with Guatemala is very hard for Mexico to control as so much is rural jungle and has created more problems for both countries north of that border.
Okay America, you still want a wall. Now, who is going to pay for it? Mexico, America or both?
President Trump by now, has been heard by the whole world, that Mexico is to pay for for the wall. Late,r Trump eased off a bit and says Mexico will pay for it indirectly. Now Trump's administration suggest a 20% tax or tariff on imported goods from Mexico and possibly other countries with a trade imbalance with the U.S.. Does that really mean the Mexican people are going to pay this or will it just be added to the cost of goods sold? If the proposed tax or tariff (Trump's administration use the words interchangeably) is passed on to the consumer it would mean Americans are paying for the wall with their purchases from any country that has added the tariff to their goods.
Pres. Enrique Peña Nieto had repeatedly said” Mexico will not pay for the wall” and after President Trump signed the executive order to build the wall EPN canceled the January 31st trip to meet the POTUS. The following day Trump explained that if Mexico wouldn't pay for the wall then he would cancel a meeting that obviously was already canceled.
How do Mexicans feel about “the Wall”?
Well of course as to be expected after Trump called Mexicans criminals, rapist and murders while campaigning, they were not too happy with him. Most I know though, knew what he meant and were not as offended as they are now. Imagine if your neighbor comes along one day after calling you names and said I don't like the view or noise coming from your house. I'm going to build a wall between us and you are to pay for all of it. So add insult to insult and yes most Mexicans now are pretty pissed off at the POTUS, his administration and unfortunately in many cases at all Americans.
As pointed out in this video the idea of the wall is becoming a great divider of the countries. Is this really a benefit to the American people? To effect trade so negatively between these countries when they are neighbors. Both administrations at this point are looking to different major trading partners. The Americans with Russia and Mexico with China, Europe and South America. Seems a little crazy when both are neighbors, so close to one another and already so entwined.
Another big question for those Americans that visit or live in Mexico, How is this going to affect them? Well, to my surprise, Mexicans do seem to be less tolerant and like I said earlier, offended if not angry. I have already heard reports of Mexicans being rude and discourteous to Americans. I've not seen it for myself but I have told Americans you might want to be extra careful and courteous when surrounded by Mexicans these days. Especially if you don't speak Spanish. There is a much greater chance of being misunderstood and the temperament is a bit edgier and less tolerant than it was a week ago.
This happened years ago when I was living in La Paz and California had a passed a bill concerning undocumented workers in California. There was a short time when the local people were irritated and took it out on those in La Paz. What happened then is happening now. Where local government employees and bureaucrats begin to enforce laws they didn't care about in the past.
Right now immigration officers, Hacienda (Mexican IRS) and police are looking to enforce the laws that are on the books but haven't been enforced. There will be longer and slower lines due to more thorough inspections at the airports and borders as they look for contraband. Now is not the time to bring in duplicate computers, tablets, cameras, fishing gear or whatever in quantities more than for personal use.
If you are driving illegally with a car with no insurance, expired driver's incense, expired registration, working or renting illegally the local government officials may now enforce the laws much more readily and strictly than before. In a conversation I had with some Federal officers this week they were quick to say we are not changing laws we are just planning on enforcing those that already exist.
So if you are legally here and not causing trouble the most you might feel is some animosity but most in Los Cabos for example know that tourism is their bread and butter and won't just be mean for the sake of it. I truly believe after so many years living here that Mexicans are generally a very tolerant people but of course that can change, so be nice and don't give them any more reasons to hate the Gringo.
All the Mexicans I know are educated enough to know that it is not the fault of all Americans and feel that illegal immigration into any country is wrong. Also a majority of Mexicans are poor and are more concerned with providing for their families and surviving the economy as it is today.
From what I have been able to find out about this wall, whether it is built or not, the relations between the countries has already begun to be effected negatively. With both federal governments trying to figure out retaliation in the form of taxes, tariffs and fines. All of which will most likely hurt the general population in both countries.
I will end this article with a famous quote of Issac Newton's “We build too many walls and not enough bridges”.
Some of the statistics stated above came from The Pew Research Center, which is a nonpartisan American "fact tank", based in Washington, D.C..