No border wall can impede an inescapable fact: Mexico and the United States are inextricably joined to one another culturally, economically, and politically.
Most Americans, by Migration Policy Institute president Selee’s (What Should Think Tanks Do?: A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact, 2013, etc.) account, have positive views of Mexico, Mexicans, and indeed immigrants in general. Yet, even if immigration from Mexico, legal and otherwise, has dropped substantially since 2007, there are still a sizable number of gringos who fear the southerly other—and the farther from the border, all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue, the more the fear grows. The author examines economic, political, and cultural trends that might allay their worries. In an instantly comprehensible note, Selee observes that everywhere in the country people celebrate “Taco Tuesday,” even where there is no other Mexican influence to speak of, and non-Hispanic Americans love their salsa and nachos. What’s more, the Mexican-owned Sigma Foods concern has captured a big chunk of market share of low-cost hot dogs after having discovered that on this side of the border, “segmenting off Latino customers” was more difficult than simply appealing to a mass market. It’s not just Mexican food: Mexico’s economy is growing overall in such a way that it could surpass Canada’s by 2050 and thereby “become one of the top ten economies of the world.” One interesting gauge, writes Selee, is the growing prevalence of Mexican filmmakers in Hollywood, as witnessed in the results of the last Oscars. It would seem ill-advised from a purely commercial point of view to alienate that audience, but the author is optimistic that even if the current administration manages to do so, the effects will be temporary, since “the forces driving Mexico and the United States together will ultimately be stronger than any decisions made by politicians in Washington, DC, or Mexico City.”
An evenhanded, reasoned contribution to an overheated discussion.