Kendall Kindred Kendall is the Editor and Staff Writer for TFP.
One of the main focuses of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was the promise that he would secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico by building a massive wall. This week, he signed an executive order to begin construction on the wall and speed up mass deportations of illegal immigrants. So, what will this wall mean for U.S. relations with Mexico? Will it really have the benefits that Trump has promised? There has been a lot of speculation about the cost of the wall and who is really paying for it. The definitive answer is that the American taxpayers will be paying, but, according to Trump, Mexico will be "reimbursing [the States]" for the costs. Despite the fact that the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, has stated on many occasions that Mexico “absolutely will not” be paying for the wall, Trump has assured the American public that “there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form”. The lack of specificity is frustrating, but is unfortunately to be expected from the television-personality-turned-politician. His lack of direction has been a staple throughout his campaign, and somehow won him the Presidency. Estimates show that the wall will cost upwards of $15 billion and take at least two decades to complete. Once completed, the wall is sure to have unexpected and dangerous consequences. The purpose of the wall is to keep illegal immigrants out by securing the border between the U.S. and Mexico, but the reality is, it will only make things more dangerous for the people who inevitably try to make it to America anyway. The wall will actually cause an increase in illegal activity, forcing migrants to rely on smugglers to get them across the border. If the true purpose of the wall is to stop illegal immigration, why pour billions of dollars into a project that will ultimately be futile when we could be spending time and money on a much-needed immigration policy reform? It seems this is less a problem about immigration, and more a problem about race. The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump has never been shy about the way he feels about minorities, calling Mexicans “criminals and rapists”, and encouraging the dangerous belief that “illegals" are stealing American jobs when that simply is not true. I fear for what his Presidency will mean for our relationship with Mexico, wary of the fact that he is quick to disrespect and criticize anyone who he believes has crossed him. His short temper and weakness for social media platforms will surely be problematic in a time when respectful relationships between countries are important and necessary. On top of his complete lack of respect for his peers, Trump’s policies could prove to be damaging to Mexico’s security and economy, despite the fact that he claimed this wall will be "very good for Mexico". Should he stop complying with the security agreements that the U.S has with Mexico, the drug cartel could become more powerful than ever, even spilling over the border into the States. According to CNN, the Mexican government’s “immediate concern” is NAFTA, a free trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trump has claimed on multiple occasions that he would attempt to renegotiate NAFTA in an effort to get back the American jobs that he believes were stolen. If Trump fails to respect their dignity as a country, Mexico is prepared to walk away from the agreement altogether, which will be detrimental for both countries’ economies, as 80% of Mexico’s manufactured goods are exported to the United States. Donald Trump’s foreign policies are lacking, to say the least, and I worry that his disrespect towards the Mexican people will have lasting effects on the relationship between our two countries. This wall will prove to be more dangerous than beneficial, and will create a literal and figurative divide between us and Mexico. I believe I speak for many when I say that this man does not represent our country, and his views and policies do not reflect that of the American people. I sincerely hope that our relationship with Mexico remains strong throughout this turbulent time in our history.