On this week’s Views, we head to Mexico for another guest post. This time we have Miguel Escobar Valdez, a consul general for Mexico based in Arizona and a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI), another institution participating in CFR’s initiative to connect foreign policy institutes from around the world.
Valdez gives his perspective on the issues surrounding the Republican platform. Here is what he had to say:
Mexicans did not harbor much hope that the political platform of the Republican Party contending for the presidency of United States would include the fundamental issues of the always complex bilateral relationship among both nations.
At no time during presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention last month was there a reference to the thorny and often toxic issue of immigration, nor were the vital interests of security on either side of the border mentioned. Also not addressed were contentious topics of the unlimited sale of arms via the United States for the most part, which increases the capacity of firepower of the drug cartels, or the question of what will happen with the uncontrolled consumption of narcotics in the United States, clearly the source of the problem of drug trafficking.
What is crystal clear is the extremely conservative tendency of the political platform of Republicans, especially in matters affecting the southern neighbor with whom 2,000 miles of land are shared. Some examples of some problematic Republican platform stances:
- The Republican Party sympathizes with radical laws such as the ones in Arizona and Alabama, which intend to facilitate the self-deportation of undocumented workers, making their lives miserable. “Self-deportation” is an expression coined by Mr. Romney himself.
- There is a determined opposition to President Obama’s so-called “deferred action,” which modifies patterns of deportation and benefits young people who were brought to the United States at a young age. For this segment of the population, Republicans demand increased tuition fees in higher education and have threatened universities with the withdrawal of federal funds if they do not to raise such fees. Additionally, Arizona refuses to issue driver’s licenses and other benefits to these DREAMers.
- As the flow of immigration from Mexico decreases to a net zero, the Republican Party strives to complete the 2,000-mile metal fence that divides both nations.
- The party also requires the Department of Justice to withdraw its legal suits against state laws that promote the issue of immigration from a radical, nativist perspective.
Latin America in general–and Mexico in particular–is clearly outside the party’s immediate priorities. The United States (as a country, government, regimen, Republicans, Democrats, etc.) only sees Mexico from the point of view of national security. It would be wise at this time to start seeing the fourteenth-largest economy in the world from an economic perspective.
Extreme right-wing conservatism can no longer ignore the contribution of millions of documented and undocumented immigrants who are pivotal to the development and economic prosperity of the United States.