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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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
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.
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
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.
My Two Cents on The War on Drugs
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
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.
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
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.
My Two Cents on Mexican Immigrants
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
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.
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 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.