Millions of Americans Live in Mexico. Can We Continue to Coexist?
The global political landscape is going through seismic changes. From the vote for Brexit to the election of Donald Trump, we are living in unpredictable times. Trump’s ascent to the presidency has huge implications for global trade relations and for minorities living in North America. Barack Obama’s progressive social reforms look like they may become just a footnote in history. And the special relationship between two great countries – Mexico and the US – could be in grave danger. In this context of upheaval, we have to rethink how we do “neighbor politics”.
In Mexico we firmly believe that “respect for the rights of others is the basis for peaceful coexistence, between individuals as between nations” – in the words of Benito Juárez, the Mexican president whose statue stands not far from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, and who shared the ideals of the first Republican president of the United States of America.
With nearly two million Americans living among us, Mexico is the country with the largest community of US citizens living outside the United States. In the state of Jalisco, of which I am governor, one of the largest communities of expatriate Americans in the world resides peacefully on the banks of Lake Chapala, with thousands of others living in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. These people are an essential part of the heartbeat of our community. However, I fear the inflammatory rhetoric of Trump could put that social harmony at risk, sowing the seeds of division. The lazy stereotypes he uses are wrong and unbefitting of a man who is now leading one of the greatest countries in the world.
Jalisco was once only known as the birthplace of hot sauce and tequila. Today, it has become Latin America’s Silicon Valley, with a thriving technology industry worth $21bn and on the brink of a quiet economic revolution. There is no doubt the close relationship between the US and Mexico brings huge economic, cultural and social benefits to both countries. The US is Mexico’s main trading partner. The North American Free Trade Agreement allows Mexicans to get US work visas, opening up a gateway of opportunity. Also, six million American jobs – within US territory – depend directly on trade with Mexico. But beyond our trading relationship and our common border, Mexicans and Americans share a dream: one of freedom and prosperity for their people. Let’s not put that at risk.
Read the rest at The Guardian
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