“Social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures,” and “the Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.”
That was Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador after President Trump, no longer willing to wait on a hostile, do-nothing Congress, announced a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods. The tariffs would escalate in proportion to the way Mexico helps solve the border crisis, with a 25 percent rate targeted for October 1.
AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, blasted Trump for “turning the United States, overnight, from a country of brotherly love for immigrants from around the world, to a bolted space, where there’s stigmatizing, mistreatment, abuse, persecution, and a denial of the right to justice to those who seek -- with sacrifice and hard work -- to live free from misery.”
This reflected the belief of “socialist messiah” AMLO that all Mexicans have a “right” to live in the United States, which has the obligation to solve Mexico’s problems forever. AMLO quickly dispatched to Washington his foreign relations boss Marcelo Ebrard, a former Mexico City mayor who has been busy proclaiming Mexico “a great neighbor” of the USA.
Before that, as Ebrard told Francisco Goldman of the New Yorker, he became “committed to direct political action” to get Hillary Clinton elected in 2016. Ebrard had previously worked with Voto Latino and other groups in California, Arizona, Florida and elsewhere. The prospect of Trump, whom Ebrard compared to Adolph Hitler, prompted the Mexican’s work for the campaign of Hillary Clinton who is on record that “one-half of undocumented workers pay federal income taxes.”
If Ebrard’s blatant election interference leaves Americans puzzled, they might imagine former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump supporter, comparing AMLO to Benito Mussolini and campaigning openly for his political rivals. Then picture President Trump sending Giuliani to Mexico to lecture them about human rights, social problems and immigration policy.
Ebrard’s notion that Mexico is a “great neighbor” has also showed up in the writings of American conservatives such as Michael Barone. As he sees it, the repressive Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) ran the country for 71 years but all that changed with the election of Vincente Fox in 2000. For Barone, Mexico is now a model of democracy and a majority middle-class nation.
Barone did not mention that Mexico’s PRI regime slaughtered hundreds of protesting students on October 2, 1968. Vincente Fox did nothing to clear up that mass atrocity, and neither did AMLO, who invited Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to his inauguration. Another indicator that things have not changed from the PRI Era is Mexico’s policy of encouraging the violation of U.S. immigration laws.
Writing in 2013, Barone cited the Pew Hispanic Center, that “there has been no net migration to the United States since 2007.” Pew is the place that set the permanent number of illegals at 11 million. A recent MIT and Yale study puts the number nationwide at 22 million.
Last year, Mexicans abroad sent back a record $33.48 billion to the Mexican motherland, an increase of 10.5 percent from 2017. That is impossible without massive inputs from American taxpayers.
Previous American presidents, in the style of FDR with Stalin, gave Mexico everything it wanted asking nothing in return, in the hope that all would be well. Donald Trump is the first American president in modern times to push back against Mexico’s straight-up colonial policy. President Trump has no reason to take any advice from Marcelo Ebrard or AMLO, both part of Mexico’s ruling political class.
AMLO believes Mexicans have a “right” to live in the USA. Trump doesn’t think so, and millions of legitimate American citizens and legal immigrants agree with him. For his part, Marcelo Ebrard interfered in an American election by campaigning for Hillary Clinton. That gives Trump more reason to disregard the partisan interloper’s complaints about tariffs, a good idea the president should team with other measures.
President Trump should push for taxation of all remittances from the United States to Mexico. This tax should aim for recovery of all public funds to Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States. The president could also halt remittances entirely for a set period of time.
Some seven out of every ten foreigners in U.S. prisons are Mexican nationals. President Trump should begin billing the Mexican government for its citizens in U.S. custody. The same could apply for medical and educational expenses for Mexicans illegally present in the United States.
Last month, President Trump hinted that he would use the “tremendous powers” of the Insurrection Act to deport illegal immigrants. The 1807 measure gives the president authority to act against “unlawful obstruction or rebellion” within the United States. So the president is holding that in reserve if tariffs and other measures fail.
Meanwhile, AMLO is right that that “the Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.” The statue was a gift to the United States from France, which helped Americans overthrow a British colonial regime. Mexico is long overdue for basic reform but that will only happen when the United States compels Mexico to solve its own problems.