A wall doesn’t solve anything | Brita Søreng

Instead of improving relations between the United States and Mexico by creating an actual immigration policy and maintaining beneficial trade agreements for both countries, a wall will create significant limitations and pressure on both sides of the border.

Barack Obama’s smooth diplomacy towards Cuba in 2015 seemed to be an attempt to begin acknowledging the southern part of America. Instead – and to no surprise – President Trump is going backwards. Talk of the wall, which began almost two years ago, opened up wounds from the Mexican-American war in 1848, when the US took and claimed a huge part of Mexican territory including California, New Mexico and Arizona. Who knew Americans would have the audacity to steamroller Mexico yet again?

Not only will a wall between the US and Mexico be expensive for the taxpayer (for one, stricter guidelines will lead to more border patrols in the future), it will also cause tremendous turmoil for the Mexican people living in Mexico.

A wall will force mainly Central Americans to stay in their violent, gang-run and unaspiring countries taking away the only hope they had in the first place, however unrealistic and dangerous a hope it was. In addition, the new deportation policy will have a dual effect, causing an increase in the deportation of more groups of immigrants (not only Latinos) who live in the US, and also forcing people to migrate to Canada. Stricter deportation restrictions have so far had the opposite effect Trump intended, and many now predict the flow of refugees will increase. With the message of this bigger and final wall, the situation can only get worse.

Group of protesters holding up effigy of Mexican person wearing sombrero and the US and Mexico flags together

Protesters at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles on President’s Day protesting Donald Trump | Photograph Mary Lynn Strand / Shutterstock

 

Nationalism, dignity, race and NAFTA (the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US) aside, the wall will create two different groups of Mexican immigrants: the ones who entered the US before the wall, and those who were not fast enough after the result of the controversial presidential election was a fact. News outlets reported an increase in migration to the US right before Trump officially won the election. The wall discussion has almost been a signal for Central America to hurry, a message the Trump administration never dreamt they would send out.

The Central Americans who did take Trump seriously throughout his campaign did so with good reason. The Trump administration has stated that a wall is not enough, and that they intend to make it harder for Mexicans in the US to send money to their home countries by blocking remittances. Deportation and custom regulations are one thing; they are part of any country’s domestic policy, but how can a government decide who does what with their own money? A change in remittances will affect people on both sides. The only hope these people have is connected to the loved ones they left behind. The Mexicans who consider themselves fortunate to still be living in the US will be further limited in the future. If these measures are implemented, it will prompt the question of whether it is better to live in the US at all.

It is no secret that the manufacturing and construction workforces in the US have a huge percentage of immigrant workers. Many of them are Mexican and Latino and over the age of 16 – in fact, this is the largest foreign-born group in the country. Does Trump think that a wall will force the optimistic and hard-working American to start wiping tables and mopping floors? This is something that even he knows he is unable to argue.

There is a common assumption that the wall is a battle only between the two neighbouring countries, but the whole of Latin America is holding its breath, and considering cooperation on many levels across the entire continent. Let´s hope that the scare puts the right kind of pressure on Latin American politicians to improve standards in their own countries. A wall will not stop or hinder drug or human trafficking from Latin America. A continuously weak economy and lack of opportunity will cause people to continue to leave their country. As it happens, now would be the perfect time to straighten out Latin American politics.

Find out more:

Politico – Trump wants $4.1 billion for wall

New York Times – Trump Wants A Wall? Mexico Is It

Thumbnail image: Welcome to Mexico  / Shutterstock


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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