Donald Trump’s proposal to blackmail Mexico by threatening to prevent Mexicans from sending money to their families until they cover the cost of a border wall to be built between both countries is offensive, arrogant and ignorant. The legality of his recently-revealed plan is questionable, as is its feasibility, not to mention that it would constitute disastrous foreign policy and hurt the long-term relations of the neighboring associates.
Since the beginning, Trump has placed his bet on reaching the White House by relying on the resentment felt by a frustrated sector of the electorate that has demonstrated to be receptive to his opinion that, basically, Mexico is to blame for the bad shape of the U.S. economy. According to the millionaire, the bordering country steals our jobs by attracting U.S. companies, takes away our money by selling the U.S. more than it buys from us, and its undocumented migrants snatch the few jobs remaining in the States when they are not stealing, raping or killing in their spare time. Under this narrative, a “great, beautiful wall” along the nearly 2,000 mile-long border and paid for by Mexico almost makes sense.
However, that is Trump’s universe. The candidate has mentioned, among other proposals, that he would deprive Mexico of close to $20 billion per year in remittances – which would drive that country into a terrible economic crisis – to put off further immigration from the southern nation. The end result of this absurd logic would actually be a spectacular increase in people migrating into the U.S., but any notion of reason has long been thrown overboard in this GOP primary.
We are not surprised to see Democrats such as President Obama criticizing Trump’s proposal to impound remittances until Mexico has covered the cost of the aforementioned wall. What is disappointing is the fact that no Republican leader has condemned Trump’s nonsensical plan. This may be because Ted Cruz, Trump’s most serious rival and purported antidote against him, wants to revoke citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented parents.
The use of Mexico and Mexicans as the Republican primary’s piñata indicates that, in the absence of positive ideas, resentment is a good substitute. To feed it, all it takes is spewing insults and foolishness – or remaining silent in front of them.