Donald Trump has been tough on Mexico when it comes to the topic of illegal immigration this election cycle, promising to not only build a wall to combat illegal immigration, but make Mexico pay for it. If it seems like punishment, to some extent it is – but when you consider the cost to American taxpayers from illegal immigration, it’s not at all unjustified. Trump plans on using a ban on remittances to Mexico as leverage, as that benefits the Mexican economy to the tune of $24-$25 billion a year. It would be cheaper for them to make a one-time payment towards the wall than suffer the lost remittances, Trump argues.
Following a meeting with Mexico’s president, who suffered criticism for even daring to meet with Trump, Mexico’s government is planning to hedge against a Trump victory come November. As the Irish Times reported;
Mexico is to consider revoking a series of treaties – including the 1848 agreement that transferred half its territory to the United States – if the Republican candidate wins the presidency and rips up the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a Bill to be presented to Congress.
The initiative, to be proposed on Tuesday by Armando Ríos Piter, a left-wing senator, follows last week’s criticized meeting between Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and US presidential contender Donald Trump, which inflamed public opinion and sparked a cabinet rift.
Mr Peña Nieto has faced a fierce backlash at home over what many saw as his red carpet treatment of Mr Trump, who has branded Mexicans rapists and wants to build a border wall that he insists Mexico will pay for.
“This is the first step towards establishing a public policy about how Mexico should react in the face of a threat,” Mr Ríos Piter told the Financial Times.
“This [Bill] is simply to protect a successful 22-year-old relationship [Nafta] that has helped both nations,” he said. “We want to defend that from a position that seeks to destroy it. We have to put it in black and white.”
The initiative would make it illegal for Mexico to use official cash to fund the building of a border wall. If Mr Trump attempted to seize the $24 billion (€21.5 billion) in annual remittances from the US to Mexico to pay for it, the Bill would empower Mexico to retaliate in kind by impounding the same sum, probably through a tax on remittances heading in the other direction.
What a threat. While Mexico receives more money from remittances than oil revenue, the same cannot be said of us. The size of our economy (measured in terms of gross domestic product) nearly surpassed eighteen trillion last year – seems we’ll survive without the few remittances Mexico sends our direction.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]