The US, Mexico, And The Wall

Venkata Kondubhatla

Washington: American President Donald Trump signed an executive order to begin the construction of Mexico Border wall on Wednesday, as promised during his presidential campaign run. The physical construction will start in months, he said in an interview with ABC News.

According to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the wall is going to cost about $10 to $12 billion. Trump maintained his election promise that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexican president Pena Nieto said that he would never pay for the wall. He even cancelled the meeting with Donald Trump that is supposed to take place this week.

The relations between the two countries are being redefined by the conflicts on the border wall. While many Mexicans see the wall as an insult, the American president emphasizes that the wall is long overdue. Trump argues tactfully that the border wall is beneficial to both the countries, to which Mexico disagrees.

In the Republican retreat held in Philadelphia, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, senate majority leader, backed the construction of the wall and proclaimed their support to Donald Trump. With Republicans falling in line, the Congress is no longer a hurdle for Trump’s wall.

Trump, following his announcement of the wall and the subsequent reluctance of Mexican President to attend a scheduled meeting with him, has tweeted the following:

“The US has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it will be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”

Trump accuses Mexico of out-negotiating America in trade deals: Mexico has taken advantage with regards to jobs and manufacturing products. He said in a press conference after his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May that Mexico had beaten America to a pulp.

It is not just the Mexican deals with America that Trump is upset about. His idea of stopping illegal immigrants also stems from his protectionist mindset that cautions him about the criminal illegal immigrants. Trump asked his White House staff to list all the incidents of violence committed by criminal illegal immigrants every week. This paranoia of Trump extends to all illegal immigrants and not just for Mexicans sneaking into the country, and hence his policy of banning or extreme vetting of Muslims coming from countries that are in the warzone. When it comes to Mexico though, Trump believes that border wall would stop illegal immigrants.

The wall is a sensitive issue for both the countries. Mexico cannot afford friction with its powerful neighbor. At the same time, America depends on Mexico for a variety of products, including mechanical parts for its auto industry. It is on these products that Trump plans to impose about 20 percent border tax. His critics argue that Mexico would offset taxes by rising costs and American consumers end up paying more.

Mexicans paying for the wall that they don’t believe in is not likely to happen, but then, where the money is going to come from? Republicans talk about strategies of making Mexico reimburse for the wall. There are many ways to make Mexicans pay for the wall, many Republicans argue without providing any details. In the meantime, it would be the American taxpayers who end up paying for the wall, if at all.

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