Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto has cancelled next week’s scheduled visit to the United States as the dispute about border security between the two nations deepens.
The trans-border shouting match between President Donald Trump and Mexico’s leader comes at a critical moment of much-needed improved relations between Washington and Mexico City.
Both the United States and Mexico would benefit from closer cooperation on significant issues that should unite rather than separate them.
President Trump has promised to build a wall to stem the flow of illegal immigration to the United States from Mexico and Central America. And Peña Nieto desperately needs help to rescue an anemic Mexican economy that is sliding toward recession.
Peña Nieto’s popularity has slumped to only 12 percent as a result of a recent 20 percent surge in gasoline prices and how Mexicans view the president’s handling of education, drugs, the economy and corruption.
The principal impetus for all mass migrations across borders is the same—deep dissatisfaction with life at home. Whether its Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Europe or impoverished residents of Latin America looking for better economic lives in the United States.
The best thing Washington can do is to help Mexico by renegotiating mutually favorable terms of the North America Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and offer economic incentives to Mexico to go directly into developing much needed home-grown new jobs south of the border.
Mexico, in turn, would commit to working with the U.S. by beefing up border security on the south side of the Rio Grand River (Rio Brave in Mexico) with more guards and installation of modern security technology.
It’s better to mend fences than to build walls. And mutual cooperation between Washington and Mexico City would benefit both nations.
Let’s stop shouting and start talking.