The News
Sunday 21 of July 2024

Trump’s Wailing Wall

Children play at a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico,photo: Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez
Children play at a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico,photo: Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez
The fact is that over the decades, the official policy of business was to keep wages as low as possible while unemployment was the main export to the United States

The old adage “you reap what you sow” is pretty much true of the current Mexico-U.S. immigration conflict.

The current Enrique Peña Nieto administration has used the “threat” by President Donald Trump to build a wall in whatever parts of the border that are not already walled. Trump keeps reminding the Mexican government that he will keep his promise to voters — because they voted for it — as well as increase deportation raids. So be it.

But in reality the problem is not Trump or any other past president of the United States. President Barack Obama got the moniker “The Deportator,” but let’s face it, just as deportations have always been there, so has the ominous failure of Mexican society at large — the government’s in particular — of not creating the proper conditions to develop an even playing field for all Mexicans.

The result of this lack of synchronicity between government and business turned into massive poverty — 53 percent of Mexicans are poor, at last 2016 count — and of course unemployment.

The fact is that over the decades — in a very secretive manner — the official policy of business was to keep wages as low as possible while in government, one administration after the other, had unemployment as its main export to the United States.

In the latest “repatriation” study issued by the Interior Secretariat (Segob) last week, a large majority of people who are getting sent back to Mexico from the United States are from the states of Michoacán, Guanajuato, State of Mexico, Jalisco and San Luis Potosí.

Perhaps Guanajuato is the most noticeable case of “unemployment exportation,” not because it is any different, but because former state governor and president Vicente Fox — in his candid speaking style — used to tell farmers back in 1996 that the best they could do for their families was to go north and send dollars. Inevitably, that led to a massive — by Guanajuato state standards — flock for farmhands who crossed the border illegally.

Notice that the State of Mexico also has some of the largest figures in deportees, and let’s not forget that President Enrique Peña Nieto was governor from 2005 to 2011, when many of those being forcibly returned home left the State of Mexico either for lack of opportunities or low wages.

About the only difference between the governance styles of Fox and Peña Nieto (nowadays close allies) was that they belonged to different political parties.

They are not exceptions. In the Segob study, the salient feature is that those being deported are for the most part “young adults” from very poor Mexican families who have little or no education and no social security rights in Mexico. The average age is 35 years old, but thousands are in their 20s who have no real future in this nation. And it’s no wonder.

Since the study is based on profiling deportees, since 1997 on the average 9.7 percent had higher education, 22.7 percent had finished preparatory or high school, 35.5 finished middle school or secondary studies and the rest, a whopping 32 percent, had little elementary education or were totally illiterate. And of the above mentioned deportees, very few spoke reasonable English.

Segob’s undersecretary for Migration, Religion and Population Issues, Humberto Roque, says that the government has in place an aid program for all deportees, but according to the study only very few — 3.6 percent out of 19,738 applicants — can benefit from it, according to 2015 figures. Surely, the Peña Nieto administration would not like to see the potential results of a current survey.

The number of Mexicans with an undocumented status in the United States is unknown but figured at anywhere between eight to nine million.

Last week, however, secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Rex Tillerson and John Kelly — good people now converted into Masters of Doublespeak Ceremonies — assured the scared Peña Nieto administration that there would be “no mass deportations,” in deep contradiction from what President Trump promised.

Donald The Menace has vowed for the construction of the wall as well as the increasing deportations of Mexicans.

The wall will serve as another containment hurdle to the poor and hungry, but surely it will also serve for the Mexican government — this and the next president — to wail crocodile tears and blame Trump for their woes, which have for decades they strived to make possible, given the fact that today the best business for the Mexican government is the $26 billion a year in remittances from Mexicans laboring in the United States.

Surely, as one Central American heading north put it last week when confronted with Trump’s wall, “the higher it is, the higher we’ll jump” in their attempt to escape from poverty.

The adage “you reap what you sow” is right, and the Mexican government has upon it problems that have grown beyond control due to lack of proper economic development policies not just from yesteryear, but throughout its history.

Wail, but don’t complain, because The Donald will build his “beautiful wall” slated to receive contractor proposals as of March 10.