Foreign Policy

Why the Mexican Election Matters

A socialist Mexican president will only exacerbate the problems of illegal immigration and trade.

Thomas Gallatin · Jul. 2, 2018

In a landslide victory over the weekend, unabashed socialist and former mayor of Mexico City Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidency, just as we noted he would Friday, becoming the first far leftist in decades to take the office. Campaigning on a leftist-populist platform that included a call for an end to the war on drugs, raising the minimum wage and free college, Obrador made the biggest international headlines with his comments on illegal immigration. He declared that poor Mexicans should “leave their towns and find a life in the United States” — that it was their “human right.” Yes, our neighbor’s president-elect called for mass migration to our country.

A brief look at the numbers should give any American pause when seeing a socialist take over a nation that is already exploiting its relationship with the U.S. on several fronts. Take NAFTA for instance. Currently, our second-largest trade deficit, standing at $70 billion annually, is with Mexico. NAFTA was billed as a means to bring about greater parity between the American and Mexican economies, which in turn was supposed to help neutralize the problem of illegal immigration. Three and a half decades later, however, and the problem of illegal immigration has only become more acute. The profits from NAFTA have done little more than increase the power of Mexican drug cartels and nearly 44% of Mexicans still live below the national poverty line.

Moreover, an estimated 12% of the Mexican population now lives within the U.S. — and a huge number are here illegally. Not only are they benefiting from the American economy and welfare, but they are sending a whopping $30 billion annually back to Mexico. Is it any wonder Obrador is encouraging illegal immigration? By cracking down, he would not only stem a significant source of revenue but would also invite the wrath of the drug cartels whose illicit trade depends upon illegal immigration and human trafficking.

What makes Obrador’s election so concerning to the U.S. is the fact that his proposed leftist policies would only exacerbate America’s border and trade problems. Look no further than the devastating effects socialist policies have had in Venezuela. Now imagine that type of economic collapse happening — accelerating — in Mexico. It will make America’s current immigration crisis look tame. Has there ever been a more important motivation than now to build the wall?

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