Gaby Cedeno

When President Trump said that he would get Mexico to pay for the wall that he wants to build along the United States’ southern border, my first thought was, “Mexico isn’t going to pay for that. Why would they?” 

Back in June 2015 when he announced his presidential bid, Trump gave a speech about the issues he planned to tackle as president. One of the comments he made in regards to issues surrounding immigration was a flat out insult to Mexicans everywhere. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

During his campaign, Trump would get his supporters riled up at his rallies by telling them, “Mexico is going to pay for the wall 100 percent.” Then he would ask them in a playful way, “Who is going to pay for the wall?” At which point the crowd would cheerfully shout “Mexico!” Apparently, Trump and his supporters didn’t think about whether or not Mexico might not want to pay for it. Or, perhaps Trump knew all along that Americans would be paying for the wall and lied to his supporters in order to get their votes. 

Do you really think Mexico is going to help a man like Trump — who talks about Mexicans as if they are scum — come up with the money to build a wall to keep them out? It’s like telling someone they are stupid and then asking that person to pay for a gate to be built around them so that they can stay away from you.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is, “Is the wall worth it?” The wall is estimated to cost between $12 to $15 billion according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The obvious answer is no. Why not? Well, sit down and really think about it. Do you honestly think a wall is going to stop immigrants from entering the country? There are more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than entering it. 

Shortly after Trump signed an executive order to build the wall on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto posted a video message on Twitter in which he vowed to protect his citizens. He said, “I regret and condemn the United States’ decision to continue withthe construction of a wall that, for years now, far from uniting us, will divide us.” Trump responded with a tweet of his own, saying, “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.” 

Not surprisingly, President Peña cancelled the meeting shortly after. Of course Trump lashed out and tried to make Peña out to be the bad guy. In his speech at the Republicans Retreat in Philadelphia, Trump said, “unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route.” 

What is this different route? One option, which was endorsed by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, would be to enforce a 20 percent border tax on goods from Mexico and use that money for the wall. What this means is that U.S. consumers — meaning you — would have to pay more for the greater things in life, like avocados and tequila. 

Don’t think that is a problem? Did you know that Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner? “We import a lot of products from Mexico,” host of the news show The Young Turks Ana Kasparian explained during a broadcast. “Refrigerators, produce, things you don’t even think of; they’re imported from Mexico. What will likely happen if Mexico decides to play ball and pay the 20 percent tax? Well, they’ll just increase the prices of their products and then we’re kind of screwed as American consumers.” 

Now, just so we are clear, this tax is not set in stone. At this point we have no idea how we are going to pay for Trump’s wall, but we as the American people will be the ones paying for it.

Pew Researcher Ana Gonzalez-Barrera compiled data on immigration patterns and published her findings in November 2015. Her research shows that since 2009 — when the recession hit — there has been a decline in the Mexican immigrant population. In 2007, there were approximately 12.8 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. By 2014, that number dropped to 11.7 million.

According to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID), from 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families— including U.S.-born children— left the U.S. for Mexico. Data collected by the U.S. census shows approximately 870,000 Mexican nationals entered the U.S. during the same time, meaning that there were definitely a lot more people leaving the U.S. than there were coming in.

Do you think that Mexicans are the only ones smuggling drugs into this country? Well, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, in 2013, four out of five arrests for drug smuggling involved U.S. citizens. The U.S. Sentencing Commission found that of 78,022 primary offense cases in the fiscal year of 2013, 38.6 percent were illegal immigrant offenders. The majority of the offenses illegal immigrants were sentenced for had to do with simply crossing the border. Only 3.8 percent of those 38.6 were arrested for sexual abuse.

Giovanni Peri — a leading scholar that specializes on the economics of international migration from the University of California, Davis — found Mexicans contribute a lot to this country, and yet, they are unwelcome because a lot of people think they are criminals who are after their jobs. The truth, according to Peri, is that Mexican immigrants do a lot of the jobs others don’t want to do, and they try to keep their nose out of trouble out of fear of being deported. That being said, do you really think that the wall is going to do us any good?