Lately, there’s been a lot of controversy on surrounding Mexico and its relationship with the USA, and there’s plenty of lies going around. I’ve done some fact-checking, so keep reading to find out what’s going on.

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Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

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In the wake of the Trump Administration, USA-Mexico relations have suddenly been thrown into the spotlight- trade discussions, border wall arguments, and immigration controversy. Everyone can see this is a complicated relationship.

It’s only logical that people in both countries would take to social media to express their concern or their anger about USA-Mexico relations.

In light of this, I’ve noticed there are several lies that are repeated consistently whenever there’s a social media discussion about Mexico. I’m aware that social media comments are rarely ever intelligent, but I would still like to clear up a few facts.

Lies About Mexico You Need to Stop Believing

1. Mexico has a wall on its southern border

Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

This is one of the most ubiquitous lies about Mexico floating around the internet. I have no idea who made it up, but it’s clearly an attempt to make Mexico appear hypocritical regarding its stance on the USA building a border wall.

The fact is there isn’t a wall on Mexico’s southern border. There isn’t even a plan to build a wall there. The Mexico-Guatemala border is very open and often unnoticeable, much like the USA-Canada border.

The pictures you’ll find of Mexico’s “southern border wall” are actually pictures of the fence on the USA-Mexico border and of a wall on the Israel-West Bank barrier.

Read this article to learn more about the Mexico-Guatemala border wall hoax.

Mexico Guatemala border
White markers in the forest dot the Mexico-Guatemala border. Source: http://www.panoramio.com

My Two Cents on Border Walls

The Mexico-Guatemala border is made up of rugged mountains, thick rainforest, and wide rivers. Merely patrolling the border is a daunting task. Building a wall there would be practically impossible.

However, the remoteness of the area makes it ideal for smugglers and drug and human traffickers. They can easily hide in the forest-covered mountains and this puts Mexican and Guatemalan citizens at risk, as well as thousands of Central American migrants that cross into Mexico on their way to the USA.

In fact, I think securing Mexico’s southern border would be more effective in terms of security than building a big wall on the USA-Mexico border. 

2. Mexico does nothing to fight the drug cartels

Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

The Mexican government has spent more than 10 years fighting a bloody war with the drug cartels that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars. There’s clearly a huge fight against the drug cartels going on in Mexico.

Mexico’s war on drugs: what has it achieved and how is the US involved?

Drugs, Money, and Violence: The Toll in Mexico

My Two Cents on The War on Drugs

Mexico war on drugs
Mexican army troops in a stand off against cartel forces in Michoacan province. Source: http://www.animalpolitico.com

Not surprisingly, it turns out you can’t just blast the drug cartels into oblivion. As soon as one is destroyed, ten more spring up. The sad result of the war on drugs is that now there are dozens of little cartels instead of a few big ones.

The USA has contributed with billions of dollars to Mexico’s war with the cartels, and Mexico has spent 30 times that and more. Plus, there’s the human cost to be added. Clearly, this has been a fruitless war.

Personally, I think Mexico and the USA are doing everything wrong in the fight against cartels. Instead of throwing more money and troops at the problem, Mexico should declare a true war on corruption, which blankets the cartels, and perhaps even start thinking about legalizing drugs

On the other hand, the USA should address the fact that it’s world’s largest market for illegal drugs. As long as there’s such a large demand, the cartels will do anything to supply it. The USA should also do more to curb the flow of cash and guns back to Mexico, which is exactly what is fueling the fire.

The USA and Mexico are equally responsible for the disastrous and failed war on drugs, and both countries need to work together to solve this problem. That’s why we need bridges, not walls between us.

3. Mexico does nothing to stop illegal migrants from crossing into the USA

Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

Illegal migrants are one of Mexico’s top priorities. During the immigration crisis of 2014, the Obama administration asked the Mexican government to do more to stop the flood of Central Americans migrants. Mexico now detains more than half of all illegal migrants on their way to the USA.

Mexico deports more Central Americans than the USA

migrants detained in Mexico
Migrants detained by Mexican immigration authorites. Soruce: http://www.elmanana.com.mx

My Two Cents on Illegal Immigrants

Mexico has certainly reduced the flood of illegal migrants to the USA, but this has come at a huge human cost. Mexican immigration authorities often resort to questionable methods to detain illegal migrants, and human rights have gone out the window.

Also, nothing is really being done to dismantle human trafficking rings that prey on migrants, so the current policy has simply put more people at risk and has made smugglers richer. And of course, the migrants haven’t stopped coming.

I think Mexico and the USA are making the problem worse by focusing only on detaining and deporting illegal migrants. People become migrants (or refugees) when poverty, violence, or a lack of opportunities force them out of their communities. Even if immigration authorities deport them, they’ll keep coming back.

The root cause of such poverty, violence, and lack of opportunities should be addressed by the USA and Mexico, along with Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. It may seem like poverty and violence in Central American countries aren’t the USA’s problems, but clearly, they already are.

And that’s another reason to build bridges, not walls.

4. Mexico sends millions of illegal migrants into the USA

Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

In case you haven’t heard already, more Mexicans now leave the USA than those trying to enter. The current flood of illegal migrants consists mainly of people from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Real Story Behind Mexican Immigration: And What It Means for the U.S. Economy

My Two Cents on Mexican Immigrants

Celebrities of Mexican descent
Celebrities of Mexican descent. Source: alfa-img.com

Although migration has decreased, generations of Mexican immigrants have already changed the face of the USA. There are now millions of second and third-generation American citizens of Mexican descent. Most of them no longer speak Spanish and have never been to Mexico. In fact, the descendants of those (often illegal) Mexican immigrants will continue to shape the USA for years to come.

5. Mexico has tougher immigration laws than the USA

Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

Mexico used to have tough immigration laws until recently. In 2016, the new immigration law was passed and now it’s entirely different. Current Mexican immigration laws do not criminalize illegal immigrants but aim to protect them instead.

Illegal immigration is no longer a felony, and aiding illegal immigrants isn’t a felony either. Rather, under the new immigration law, it’s a felony to bring migrants into Mexico illegally with the purpose of receiving a financial benefit. This new law aims to punish human traffickers and smugglers, not migrants.

Also, illegal immigrants who are detained in Mexico are to be assisted legally during the deportation process and held in humane conditions. If they are deported and then are detained again, they’re charged a fine but they serve no prison time whatsoever.

The Mexican Congress approves migration law reform in Spanish

Note: I was unable to find references to an article in English about the recent migration law reform in Mexico. The only articles in English refer to the old migration law in which illegal immigration was a felony.

migrant shelter in Mexico
Migrants get a free meal and bed for the night at a migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Mexico. Source: oim.org.mx

My Two Cents on Mexican Immigration Laws

Although Mexico used to have very tough immigration laws, they were rarely ever enforced. Immigration officials simply looked the other way while thousands of migrants poured into Mexico on their way to the USA.

The same is true today. The new Mexican immigration law looks wonderful on paper, but it’s not fully applied in practice. Detainment facilities are overcrowded and resemble prisons. Many migrants are deported faster than they can receive legal counsel. Human traffickers and smugglers are rarely brought to justice.

There’s a lot of work to be done in this area, but I think this new immigration law is a step in the right direction. However, Mexican immigration authorities should work more towards truly enforcing those new laws rather than focusing on meeting some sort of quota and resorting to questionable methods to detain and deport as many illegal immigrants as possible. 

Building Bridges, Not Walls

mexico-usa-boundary

Mexico and the USA are tied together by geography, trade relations, security issues, and even by family bonds. It’s impossible to put a wall in between, physical or otherwise.

Building bridges means strengthening those bonds, not putting up a barrier and dividing two nations that should be friends.

Although I’m deeply saddened by the current state of affairs between Mexico and the USA, I hope this is only a bad phase and both countries will work things out in the end because even though we might hate to admit it, we’re more than just neighbors. We’re almost like family.

Let’s build bridges, not walls.

What are your thoughts on Mexico-USA relations? Share them in the comments!

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30 thoughts on “5 Lies About Mexico You Need To Stop Believing

  1. Thank you for sharing your views, beliefs and facts you’ve researched. Whether people agree or disagree, respectful discourse is a courtesy we owe each other. If we can’t LISTEN to each other, we will never learn to understand the various views. The greater purpose of dialogue is COMPROMISE. Creating a foundation based on common ideas and concepts is a great starting place.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree, we need bridges not walls. I think, myself, (My opinion) is that Mexicans deserve to be in the US just the same as the Americans do. The Mexicans were pushed out of Texas and Southern California, just the same as the Native American Indians were pushed off their lands. I am of Irish, British and Native American descent. Only the Natives were original to this land, the others were Illegal Immigrants.Thank you so much for your blog, Maybe if enough people throw pebbles into the the pond, we can make big enough waves they will listen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was an excellent post and much needed during these times of fake news and know-it-alls. I had no idea that Mexico’s immigration laws were recently reformed. I’m still weeding through all of the statements on both sides and find myself with even more questions. Currently I’m researching all of the claims regarding the cost of the immigration issue in general, which is also a huge talking point. So far I have found some grossly exaggerated numbers to the tune of 113 billion annually. I would love to get your feedback on that as well. Thanks for a well written and informative post Fabiola 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I disagree with several parts of this article- from first hand experience. I am a US immigrant living in Mexico- it is expensive and very time consuming to keep all your immigration status up to date as a Permanent Resident. ( we had to pay twice for a non-expiring PR status due to a change of administration in Baja)- You must prove financial stability for at least a 6 month period before you can apply. – Mexico does NOT discourage illegal aliens going to the US – 23% of Mexicos GNP comes from their citizens in the US…nearly a 1/4 of their budget!!

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    1. I mentioned that being an illegal immigrant in Mexico is no longer a felony. I didn’t mention anything about becoming a permanent resident in Mexico, but thanks for bringing that up. It explains why there are currently thousands of American expats living illegally in Mexico.
      As for discouraging illegal aliens, I didn’t mention anything about Mexico doing any of that. It certainly should, but it doesn’t. Instead, I did mention that Mexico deports more than half of all the Central American migrants, which comprise the majority of illegal immigrants now entering the USA.

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  5. Thanks for sharing and being bold. There are so many issues with uninformed opinions attached to the entitlement to be “heard” in our society today. So many issues (like the cartels) are so deep and tough. I love how you mentioned it not being a simple solution but it even deals with corruption which is such a horrible plague for Latin America. Keep spreading truth! Awesome work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Carmen. I’m so tired with people blaming others and shouting out simplistic solutions, like send more troops in, or build a wall. Nothing is ever that simple. Thanks for reading and feel free to share!

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  6. Fabiola, I like this article a lot. I’m an expat who has been here almost 20 years, and I gotta say that I have friends in the states who say a lot of those things you mentioned. I have refuted a lot of those things for years, until I was blue in the face. Recently, I have started a vlog to share my life in Mexico, and talk about EVERYTHING–good and bad, but put it in a proper lens so people can see what is really going on. One thing that I want to talk about is the topic of immigration because I think the US just doesn’t get it, nor do they care. They are pretty reckless in their problem-solving approach. Anyway, I will check out some of your other articles, and might even post a link on my website so others can see your vlog.

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