[OP-ED]: Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to Trump
Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. That’s how the White House has called the first of two executive orders Donald Trump signed on January 25. The second one is also named with the same cold, bureaucratic language that makes it sound harmless, just another routine governmental decision.
But don’t be fooled by the innocuous names. What Trump ordered with those documents is nothing less than an all-out assault on immigrants and the values that, supposedly, define the United States as a nation.
The centerpiece of such assault is the absurd border wall he promised his followers during the campaign, and the “alternative fact” that Mexico will pay for it. The new President is, as everybody knows, a shameless liar, who is well aware that it will be the taxpayers -- you and me-- who will end up paying the $18 billion this monstrous monument to racism will cost.
As offensive as the wall is, Trump’s disrespect for our neighbor to the South is even more so, as his January 25th interview with ABC’s David Muir shows.
“But you talked — often about Mexico paying for the wall,” Muir said. “And you, again, say they'll pay us back. Mexico's president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, ‘It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.’”
Trump, exhibiting the lack of decorum we all have learned to expect from him responded: “David, he (Peña Nieto) has to say that. He has to say that. But I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I'm doing is good for the United States. It's also going to be good for Mexico.”
Good for Mexico? Well, no, Mexicans don’t think so. So much so that President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a January 31st trip to Washington to meet with the former reality show star occupying the White House.
But Trump, a bully of the worst kind, is planning to recover the cost of the wall by imposing a 20% tax on all imports from Mexico. The consequences for the relations between the two nations, as well as for manufacturers, consumers and business owners at both sides of the border be damned.
“Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States,” famously said Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz many years ago. His words have seldom sounded more relevant --or more ominous.
Yet building the wall may not be the most dangerous of Trump’s executive orders. In a blatant display of racism, he would also block federal grants from “sanctuary cities” like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and others around the country. Many of those mayors have vowed to defy Trump even if it means losing federal funds.
“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said at a news conference.
The assault continues in full force with the executive orders directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to aggressively extend interior enforcement targeting immigrants who have committed or are charged with “criminal offenses.” Those “offenses” now include immigration transgressions like illegal entry and reentry, and driving without a license. Also, Customs and Border Protection will add 5,000 new officers, who now will have the power to –listen to this-- reject asylum applicants at will.
Consistent with his racist rhetoric, there is a despicable attempt from the Trump administration to criminalize immigrants, even ridiculously accusing 5 million of them of illegally voting for Hillary Clinton and depriving the liar in chief from winning the popular vote.
Scary without a doubt, it is up to all of us to say no to the neo-fascist policies of the arrogant snake oil salesman. Resist…