Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has done something no other presidential candidate has done in decades—put an America First agenda on the table for US voters. President Barack Obama has done the opposite, and so did his secretary of state Hillary Clinton. While Trump addressed a number of issues related to US policy with Mexico on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton has been silent other than via Twitter where she launched snarks at Trump.
How much do you really know about US policy with our southern neighbor? Did you know the US has a welfare program that benefits foreign nationals in the country illegally while refusing the same to US citizens? Did you know that a small amount of cannabis in your possession in Mexico, even if you have a prescription, could land you a large fine and/or a prison sentence of up to 25 years?
Those are highlights in a 12-point list I made, and if you’re gay, pay attention to some advice from the US government if you’re heading south of the border.
Twelve amazing things media and politicos don’t talk about on US-Mexico policy
- Mexico has a government match program on US remittances. Mexico’s ‘3 for 1’ program, said the US State Dept., “matches contributions with federal, state, and local funds.” The program matches remittances via Hometown Associations in areas where migration is strong. The money is used to build roads, sewers, and other infrastructures in Mexico.
- Intellectual property rights attached to US goods don’t get a lot of respect south of the border. The US Trade Representative actually “designated Mexico as a ‘Watch List’ country” in 2014, noting “the widespread availability of pirated and counterfeit goods in Mexico.”
- If you travel to Mexico, try not to look American. Although profiling is often called ‘racist’ in the US, profiling is a criminal’s best friend in Mexico. Travel tips at the US Dept. of State advise Americans “to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth…[and] to avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims.”
- The US spends heavily on the domestic war on drugs, but taxpayers also fund a war on drugs in Mexico. The Nation reported on the ‘Merida Initiative—the ongoing counter-drug aid package signed in 2006.’ As of 2015, the US had spent “roughly $2.5 billion on Merida since 2008.” Concerns have been raised about corruption and violence associated with officials connected to the program. In 2011 a drug cartel executed “a reported 300 family members, friends and others associated with three Zetas believed to be informants” for US authorities. Then secretary of state Hillary Clinton took action—she met with then-Mexico-president Felipe Calderon to discuss ways to “explain to [the US] Congress why foreign assistance money under ‘Beyond Merida’ should continue.” That brought little comfort to victim’ families.
- Besides more than $22 billion in remittances going from foreign workers in the US to Mexico, and besides the billions spent on the drug war south of the border via ‘Merida’, US AID sends money to Mexico for everything from scholarships to assisting Mexican entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in their country. For fiscal year 2015, US taxpayers handed Mexico at least $49.4 million through US AID.
- Besides the remittances, drug war funding, and US AID money from taxpayers, the US provides food stamps to foreign nationals in the country illegally. The US government even paid for TV commercials to advise Mexicans about this benefit. That program didn’t start with Obama. It started with George W. Bush, the second in his family to occupy the White House.
- US policy is so out of control there’s even a process for foreign nationals here illegally to get welfare aid that US citizens can’t qualify for.
- TV personality Jorge Ramos is a Mexico Firster, open borders activist who has been deeply critical of Trump. Ramos even interrupted a Trump presser in a very rude manner. What media often omit about Ramos is that his daughter works for Hillary Clinton.
- The US State Dept. does a modest job of advising travelers to Mexico, although the United Kingdom does a far better job on all accounts regardless of where you travel. US State specifically warns anyone carrying any form of cannabis, “even if it is accompanied by a prescription or medical marijuana license,” could be charged with “a federal offense and international drug trafficking. Offenders can expect large fines and/or jail sentences of up to 25 years.” Mexico apparently likes protecting her exports even if they’re illegal in the US.
- Although Mrs. Clinton routinely casts herself as an advocate for gay rights, she’s been mum about targeting of gays south of the border. The State Dept. isn’t mum although media never mention the warning posted in travel tips: “LGBTI Travelers: S. citizens should exercise discretion in identifying themselves publicly as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Intersex (LGBTI). See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State’s Human Rights report for further details.”
- You’d best be able to pay for your medical care if you need it in Mexico. There’s no free Obamacare for you if you’re in the country legally or illegally. The Dept. of State warns: “Mexican facilities often require payment ‘up front’ prior to performing a procedure. Hospitals in Mexico do not accept U.S. health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. You may also consider supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.” In the US, as we now know, foreign nationals in the US illegally have received free medical care, courtesy of the US taxpayer.
- Mexico-Firsters enjoying benefits of living in the US love to fly the Mexican flag at protests and Trump rallies. Better not do that south of the border—you may not get away alive. As a matter of fact, Mexico’s Constitution forbids political activities by “foreigners”. US media would call this ‘racist’ if the US had such a prohibition.
These highlights illustrate just how effective Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have been in dealing with our neighbor to the south. Next time you hear someone berate you or call you a ‘nationalist’, point them towards Mexico where they’ll learn exactly what a serious ‘nationalist’ is.
Media on the extreme left have attacked Trump for his America First stance on Mexico and border security. What the extreme left will not admit is that extremists have controlled US policy with Mexico for quite some time and the US taxpayer routinely gets the weak end of the piñata stick.
It’s amazing, when you think about it, how the people we elect have put the best interests of other countries ahead of our own. Policy with Mexico isn’t the only problem—policy with China comes up short as well, but that’s a column for another day.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 1, 2016)
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