by Matthew Vadum
The master dealmaker outfoxes his Mexican counterpart.
Blasting President Donald Trump for his Twitter-based demands that Mexico free up the pesos needed to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, President Enrique Peña Nieto abruptly pulled out of a planned summit with Trump.
Answering Trump in kind, the Mexican head of state tweeted midday Thursday in Spanish, "We have informed the White House that I will not attend the working meeting planned for next Tuesday with @POTUS[.]"
The previous night Peña Nieto had reiterated his government’s opposition both to the wall and to his country paying for it. "I regret and reject the decision of the United States to continue building a wall that, far from uniting, divides us," he tweeted according to an apparently reliable English translation.
In an unprecedented round of refreshingly transparent social media diplomacy, Trump, the master negotiator, published two tweets baiting his Mexican counterpart:
The U.S. 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 would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.Peña Nieto, who is deeply unpopular in his homeland, accepted Trump’s invitation to withdraw from the Jan. 31 summit. He had come under intense pressure in his country to cancel the meeting.
And on Wednesday as Mexico’s foreign minister was reportedly in the White House trying to patch up relations between the two countries, Trump signed an executive order moving forward with construction of the wall.
A labor leader might say Trump was bargaining in bad faith but the Americans who elected him would more likely say the president is simply moving ahead with honoring his campaign pledge to build the wall as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.
The executive order was sufficient to set at least the construction planning process in motion because a 2006 law supported at the time by Democrat Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton was never repealed.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted for the legislation in 2006 but now finds that vote decidedly inconvenient in the current political climate.
A fortnight after the recent election he said he would oppose Trump’s plan to move forward with wall construction.
“We’re not going to help him build his wall,” Schumer told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
It needs to be noted that Schumer received a rough reception from the public on Inauguration Day. In what may very well foreshadow the tone of the new 115th Congress, Schumer was booed by members of the public during his speech at the inauguration ceremonies in which he subjected the National Mall audience to an otherwise patriotic lecture that he insisted on infusing with a touch of politically correct identity-politics cant.
“Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity,” he said. “Whether we are immigrant or native-born. Whether we live with disabilities or do not. In wealth or in poverty, we are all exceptional in our commonly held, yet fierce devotion to our country.”
Other Democrats in Congress share Schumer’s political predicament. A slew of House members including Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), at the time in the House, are still there.
Among the Democrat senators still in the Senate who voted for the 2006 measure are Tom Carper (Del.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.).
"Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence," Feinstein said at the time. "We've got to get tough on the border. There's no question the border is a sieve."
The 11-year-old law authorizes construction of 700 miles of fencing on the southern border, along with other security measures such as cameras and sensors.
When Democrats took over the subsequent Congress, an amendment to a 2008 spending measure stripped out a statutory provision mandating among other things that the barrier be made with double-layer fencing. Democrats got to pretend they supported building the border barrier but lacking funding, the wall was stalled.
But because the law authorizing the building of the wall is still on the books, Trump was able to move the process forward Obama-style with the stroke of a pen. Now he just needs Congress to appropriate the $12 billion in construction costs. He vows to make Mexico foot the bill and has proposed slapping tariffs on Mexican imports to cover the cost.
According to a Fox Business analysis:
Congress doesn’t have to pass a new law to begin construction, and can instead package the funds necessary into a massive spending bill Democrats would have a politically hard time opposing. Trump may get a head start on the process by diverting other funds congressional leaders have indicated are available for the project, ensuring a snafu over the spending bill doesn’t hinder prompt construction of the wall.Although left-wingers have been whipping themselves into a frenzy daily, characterizing President Trump’s approach to border security as monstrous and Hitlerian, Mexico’s approach to dealing with unwanted visitors on its soil is draconian compared to America’s.
If Trump and Republicans follow through, a number of top Democrats will find they inadvertently handed Trump the border wall they now oppose. Their only option to block the construction would be to shut down the government over the matter by blocking the spending bill, a strategy they have consistently mocked and derided Republicans for using in the past.
Mexican law makes it a felony to be present without permission anywhere in that country. Political activism by illegals is forbidden. Those who use fake documents to enter Mexico are jailed or deported and those who assist them are also jailed.
Mexican immigration policy is based on Mexican self-interest. Only foreigners deemed useful to Mexico are allowed in "according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress." Immigrants to Mexico must be able to support themselves and their dependents.
Foreigners may be denied entry to Mexico if their presence is thought to: disturb "the equilibrium of the national demographics"; be detrimental to "economic or national interests"; if they have violated Mexican laws; or if they are determined not to be “physically or mentally healthy."
According to Discover the Networks:
Mexican guards at the Guatemalan border, the locale for most attempts at illegal entry, are notorious for the brutality of their treatment of would-be immigrants. The guards' use of violence, rape, and extortion against those seeking to cross into Mexico has, in fact, managed the border so well that the country has only a minimal illegal-immigration problem.In addition, Mexico deliberately undermines U.S. immigration laws.
The Mexican government provides “survival kits” and maps to those seeking to sneak into the U.S. A dozen years ago Mexico’s foreign ministry published a 32-page book called “The Guide for the Mexican Migrant,” that explained to would-be border jumpers how to evade U.S. law enforcement.
“This guide is intended to give you some practical advice that could be of use if you have made the difficult decision to seek new work opportunities outside your country,” the book reads. Comic book-style illustrations showed illegals wading into a river in order to steer clear of the U.S. Border Patrol.
The guidebook advised readers to “[t]ry to walk during times when the heat is not as intense[,]” and drink “[s]alt water [because it] helps you retain your body’s liquids.” It also provided sound sartorial advice: “Thick clothing increases your weight when wet, and this makes it difficult to swim or float.”
In a column last year, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) explained why the government of Mexico encourages its citizens to move to the U.S. by any means possible.
Mexico sees Mexicans in the United States as strategic assets in every sense of that word. They are seen as extensions of the Mexican state and partners in Mexico’s plans.Mexico amended its constitution to permit dual citizenship and to let Mexicans residing outside Mexico vote in Mexican elections, Tancredo wrote. It did this to increase the Mexican population within the U.S. Moreover, he wrote, it is Mexican government policy to treat “all Mexican-Americans as ‘Mexicans First’ and Americans second.” Children born to Mexican nationals in the U.S. are dual citizens of both countries at the time of their birth and qualify to vote in Mexican elections when they’re older.
These policies are not “mere expressions of Mexican pride,” according to Tancredo.
They are indications of a policy of planned interference in American domestic affairs. The policy of dual citizenship is only the visible tip of the iceberg of a strategic plan for active and overt involvement in American politics to advance Mexican government interests.Mexican politicians also encourage settlement in “el Norte” because they don’t want to lose the $25 billion in hard currency that the millions of Mexicans in the U.S. who can’t find work in Mexico send in the form of cash remittances every year to their families in Mexico.
Anyone who thinks I am exaggerating should do a little research and listen to the words of Mexican leaders. For example, Vincente Fox, President of Mexico from 2000-2006, proclaimed from a Texas stage that Mexico believes any person of Mexican descent owes a loyalty to Mexico “unto the seventh generation.”
That motherlode of greenbacks, Tancredo observed, constitutes “30 percent of Mexico’s foreign investment, rivaling tourism in importance to the Mexican economy[.]”
Trump could choose to pay for the wall by imposing a tax on foreign remittances. That would be painless for most Americans and have the added bonus of removing the incentive for many illegal aliens from Mexico to stay here. And it would drive the already-enraged Left crazy and encourage its activists to take their protests against Trump to the next level of nuttiness. Such a move could cause a backlash that would likely advance Republican interests.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s vow to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that harbor illegal aliens is already beginning to pay off.
Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) yesterday ordered his county’s jailers to honor federal immigration detention requests, the Miami Herald reports.
Gimenez cited an executive order signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump that threatened to cut federal grants for any counties or cities that don’t cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since 2013, Miami-Dade has refused to indefinitely detain inmates who are in the country illegally and wanted by ICE — not based on principle, but because the federal government doesn’t fully reimburse the county for the expense.It looks like Trump wasn’t joking on the campaign trail when he claimed under his presidency, “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.”
After eight long years of Barack Obama, Americans desperately need to win.
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."
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