By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition January 2017.
Why did the pollsters and cable newscasters fail in their predictions? That is an excellent question that until now, no one can answer. Even though there are many theories still floating around, nothing has satisfied those who seek an answer.
In my case, I’m not able to find a word that adequately describes his victory, I settled with – phenomenon, an extraordinary occurrence.
At the start of his campaign, he found a good way to rattle certain ethnic groups. Despite the fact that they came after him aggressively, nothing detained President-elect Donald Trump. I would say that when he visited Mexico, based on the script he used to address the press, it gave the clearest insight and the real message of what he wants to do. As a matter of fact, he included Mexico and Central America in an effort of cooperation of shared goals. Whether he is going to be able to accomplish it, that’s another matter.
The following is part of that script:
ONE: “Ending illegal immigration.”
“Not just between our two countries, but including the illegal immigration and migration from Central and South Americans, and from other regions that impact security and finances in both Mexico and the United States.”
TWO: “Having a secure border is a sovereign right and mutually beneficial.”
“We recognize and respect the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders to stop the illegal movement of people, drugs, and weapons. Cooperation toward achieving this shared objective – and it will be shared – of safety for all citizens is paramount to both the United States and Mexico.”
THREE: “Dismantling drug cartels and ending the movement of illegal drugs, weapons, and funds across our border.”
“This can only be done with cooperation, intelligence and intelligence sharing, and joint operations between our two countries. It’s the only way it’s going to happen.”
FOUR: “Improving NAFTA.”
“NAFTA is a 22-year-old agreement that must be updated to reflect the realities of today. There are many improvements that could be made that would make both Mexico and the United States stronger and keep the industry in our hemisphere. We have tremendous competition from China and from all over the world. Keep it in our hemisphere. Workers in both of our countries need a pay raise very desperately. In the United States, it’s been 18 years, 18 years; wages are going down. Improving pay standards and working conditions will create better results for all.”
FIVE: “Keep manufacturing wealth in our hemisphere.”
“When jobs leave Mexico, the U.S., or Central America, and go overseas, it increases poverty and pressure on social services, as well as pressures on cross-border migration. Tremendous pressure.”
On immigration, Texas Border Business (TBB) spoke to U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D TX-28), especially on mass deportation, which President-elect Trump had been announcing, and he said, “It is unrealistic to think we can just simply deport 11 million people at a turn. That is a population larger than some of our states. The devastation that it would do to the economy is unimaginable. Similarly, I’ve heard the cost of mass deportation would be over $100 billion. This is completely unrealistic. However, I obviously believe illegal immigrants with felony convictions should be locked up and deported.”
U.S. Representative Filemon Vela (D TX-34) expressed to Texas Border Business his take on President-Elect Trump in building a wall, “I think we never should have built the wall in the first place; we should tear the existing wall down. And to the extent Donald Trump pleads that we need to build more, I disagree with it to the extend he thinks Mexico is going to pay for it, I don’t know what he is smoking.”
On dismantling the drug cartels, everyone agrees that is one item that needs to be executed at once. The drug trade between the United States and Mexico is totally out of control. Most of the interviewees agree the cartels must go.
Trump’s comments on NAFTA are making everyone nervous, especially the border towns with Mexico. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling is a believer in free trade and NAFTA. He said, “Mexican business supports many jobs in the Valley and Texas as well as increasing the income for Mexican citizens that visit, invest, and shop in McAllen.
Congressman Cuellar went even further about the importance of trade with Mexico, “Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export partner and third-largest import partner with more than $583 billion worth of commerce in goods and services in 2015. The U.S. and Mexico trade over $1.5 billion each day, or more than $1 million dollars per minute. Needless to say, trade with Mexico is important to the United States, and especially border states like Texas, where thousands of good paying jobs are directly attributed to import and export with our southern neighbor. Border communities owe much of their progress and development due to good trade with Mexico.”
Just recently, President-Elect Trump said that companies leaving the United States for Mexico or other countries would get a stiff 35% tax on products coming back to the states seeking the U.S. market. Based on an article published by “El Financiero”, Mexico could go to the World Trade Organization (WTO) if Trump would exceed the tariff cap. According to the law of commerce, the United States cannot impose a tax higher than 2.5% for light cars and 25% for pickups. According to the rules of the WTO, this is the reason Mexico could dispute before the body in case that Trump exceeds these limits.
Why is trade commerce with Mexico important? Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia said, “For the Valley, trade is imperative. National retailers marvel at the consistently higher sales per square foot in the McAllen MSA than any other in any other part of the country. It is a symbiotic and natural relationship with our closest neighbor.”
Mission Mayor Beto Salinas told Texas Border Business that what President-Elect wants to do is impossible. TBB asked for his comment regarding the wall. “I think he’s completely wrong,” he added.
Mayor Pete Saenz of Laredo, Texas is possibly the only border mayor that has met Mr. Trump, the President-elect, visited Laredo during the 2016 campaign.
Mayor Saenz, what would be the best way to fix immigration? “I agree that the border needs to be secure. We need order; you know we can’t have chaos. We can’t have people coming in and out. So, I’m with that. We need to secure the border, but not necessarily with a wall; maybe in some parts of the U.S.,” he said.
On deportation, what did you tell Mr. Trump? I told him, you can’t. It’s illogical; it’s not reasonable and that we have second and third generation families living here. You’re going to break up families.”
Mayor Tony Martinez from Brownsville Texas is also against the wall, massive deportation and says he should leave NAFTA alone.
Mayor Boswell, I’m sure that you have heard what Donald Trump is planning to do. He intends to challenge the 14th amendment of the Constitution of the United States and also begin deporting Hispanics, plus build a wall that it’s going to be paid by Mexico. Can you tell us your take on this?
Mayor Chris Boswell of Harlingen said, “People who suggest these kinds of things are people who don’t live here.” He said, “People who don’t understand the border region, they don’t know how things work. Already a huge amount of money has been spilled on a border wall. And if the goal was to address security issues it hasn’t accomplished those goals.”
Mr. Trump’s next big day is scheduled for Friday, January 20, 2017, when he will be sworn in on the steps of the US Capitol at noon. The new 45th President of the United States will then officially take over from the current President Barack Obama. TBB