The United States – Mexico Border Controversy

The United States – Mexico Border Controversy

Mexico and the United States have enjoyed a bitter-sweet relationship for decades. Much as the two countries have been perennial adversaries; both countries cannot afford to ignore the fact that they are neighbors and the fact that both countries have a lot to gain from effective trade policies. (Villanueva, U. R. (2017). Further, United States has more to gain than lose from having a democratic and economic powerhouse as a neighbor as opposed to having a regime infiltrated by drug lords and cartels.

The US-Mexico bilateral economic relationship is vital for the guaranteed continuity and growth of both countries; due to the proximity of both countries and the fact that they share a 2000 mile border, necessitates the need for effective trade policy. Both countries share many economic interests; evidenced by the fact that Mexico is ranked third–largest trading partner of the United States while the United States is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in Mexico.

The US-Mexico relations have enjoyed considerable success under a trade agreement dubbed ‘NAFTA’ that entered into force in 1994. The enactment of NAFTA created free trade areas between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. (Villanueva, U. R. (2017).

In as much as NAFTA has ensured fair trade relations between the United States and Mexico, the drug cartel problem in Mexico has been a major set back for both countries reaping immeasurable benefits from the agreement.

The Mexican political arena has been infiltrated by drug cartels leaving the country’s economy in jeopardy of collapse. A vast majority of Mexican citizens continue to live in abject poverty while the drug cartels reap from their misfortune through corruption and death on people opposed to their operations. Indeed this is not only a problem for Mexico but also for America. Drugs are smuggled from Mexico into the United States. As such the United States has for years tried to curb this menace through the counter-narcotic policy which has proven to be a rather costly affair. The Merida initiative features as one of the failed policies by the United States in dealing with the Narcotic problem in Mexico.  This initiative aimed at funding the Mexican Military through offering them the much-needed training and experience. This attempt by the United States failed terribly as the funds were not put to the requisite use. (Mowell, B. (January 01, 2017).  It is approximated that the US offered $1.6 billion in funding meant to support transparency, anti-corruption and promotion of human rights. This attempt failed terribly, only $15 million of the $1.6 billion was put to use; the remainder of the funds was siphoned by unscrupulous individuals within the Mexican government.

The Failure of the Merida initiative is proof that the United States’ funding the Militarization of Mexico the Narcotics problem was creating more problems than solutions. As such the United States and Mexican policymakers ought to reconsider this approach. This can be done by both countries appreciating the fact that the success of drug cartels in Mexico is hinged on the country’s population remaining poor and unemployed. A more productive approach would be addressing the social-economic situation in Mexico. This approach not only empowers Mexico’s economy but also provides the much-needed break-through in dealing with the Narcotics problem that has been a perennial headache to both countries. This approach empowers ordinary citizens to access education and jobs. The creation of more jobs has a trickle-down effect on stamping out narcotics because citizen will not have to live on handouts from the drug lords but  their hard earned money. (Pansters, W. G., Smith, B. T., & Watt, P. (2017). Further, citizens, as well as government will be better placed to call out and address insecurity within the country; insecurity of which threatens the progress gained from economic empowerment. In as much as Narcotics are smuggled into America, the Narcotics problem is predominantly a Mexican problem and only Mexico can provide a solution to the menace. America should only facilitate it through offering their shoulders to act as stepping stones for the country to reap the benefits of a narcotic free Mexico.

The trump administration elected to power in the last general election rode on the Mexican alienation cloud. The newly elected administration is committed to redirecting the Merida funds and channeling them towards a border wall. (Pansters, W. G., Smith, B. T., & Watt, P. (2017).This strategy creates more problems than solutions. Owing to the statistics that place Mexico and the United States as top-ranked trade partners, America stands to gain more through helping Mexico address the perennial Narcotics problem. A wall does not guarantee zero drug trafficking or Mexican illegal immigrants from breaching the United States Boarders. Only empowerment of Mexico provides a lasting solution.

American and Mexican American economic policymakers ought to consider the advantages of employing bilateral trade agreements between the two countries. At the heart of the bilateral trade agreements should be the Mexican working class. More so, Americans and Mexicans have very different export baskets, meaning an effective bilateral trade agreement would see the countries rip fortunes. The current working conditions in the country do not meet international standards. Resulting to people being over worked and underpaid. (Hakobyan, S., & McLaren, J. (2017). This leads to adult Mexicans prefering seeking greener pastures in the drug industry which appears to be a more lucrative endeavor. The dangers of engaging in the trade outweigh the benefits of having riches and food on their table.

The benefits realized by NAFTA are negligible because it has empowered the Mexican drug cartels to thrive in the poverty of the Mexican citizens. A bilateral trade agreement that guarantees fair business practices would effectively lift the Mexican economy; this would have the effect of Mexico enjoying an increased and motivated working class.( Pansters, W. G., Smith, B. T., & Watt, P. (2017).The trickle-down effect would mean increased food production, reduce the cost of production of American imports thereby reducing the price of commodities from Mexico and guarantee the much-coveted peace of having an economically viable neighbor for the United States.

Further, effective bilateral trade agreements would reduce the headache of dealing with illegal immigrants from Mexico seeking jobs. This is because Mexican citizens would enjoy the benefit of having a vibrant economy through a democratically elected government free of drug cartel control. Mexicans would prefer to stay and rebuild their country as opposed to living as an illegal immigrant in America. (Pansters, W. G., Smith, B. T., & Watt, P. (2017).

In conclusion, both countries are under a duty to address the domestic problems that affect their trade policies and threaten their continued relations. Mexico will always share a border with America. Building a wall does not guarantee any security from drug smuggling, it only solves the problem temporarily. A more effective approach would be empowering Mexico to break from the shackles of drug cartels and corruption. Thereby enabling it to rise to compete with top economies around the globe.

The responsibility of designing an effective trade agreement that amends or abolishes NAFTA to totality lies squarely on economic policy-makers from both countries and the subsequent implementation by the political class. All operations ought to be in good faith. It is important for the trump administration to appreciate the fact that the growth of the American economy is dependent on mutual-cooperation with other countries; operating in isolation only cripples the economy.

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