Pure proximity and social and economic integration have led to millions of Mexicans having family members in the United States.
In an in-depth interview with Enrique Acevedo for the Univisión Network, former President, and likely Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump exposed a geographic and geopolitical reality that many would like to ignore: the price of neighborliness with the world’s greatest power.
“If they hit us [the United States], you’re going to be wiped out, too,” Trump said, claiming that his most likely rival, incumbent President Joe Biden, has brought the possibility of World War III closer. Beyond Trump’s bombast and arrogance, the truth is that there are advantages and disadvantages to being next door to the U.S.
Sheer proximity and social and economic integration have led to millions of Mexicans having direct family members or their descendants in the U.S., and that weighs heavily on both sides of the border — not to mention the fact that millions of Mexicans benefit economically from the tens of billions of dollars a year that flow into the country in the form of remittances.
That is certainly a potential problem. The economic integration between the two countries links their fate. Perhaps the impact of an economic crisis in Mexico would be relatively less in the United States than if the opposite were true, but hard times in our country would definitely be felt in U.S. supply chains, let alone how an economic downturn in the U.S. would be felt in Mexico.
This is not to mention the fact that geography has placed Mexico in the path of massive migration to the United States, an issue that Americans are not at all happy about.
At the same time, the reality is that the millions of Mexicans living in the United States have dispersed throughout the whole country, although most have remained in traditional hubs such as California, Texas, the border states and Chicago. In recent decades, Mexicans have become particularly prevalent along the entire East Coast, from Florida to New York.
This means, among other things, that the risk of all kinds of different problems has risen drastically. Normally one could mention incidents of racial discrimination or violence, which are reprehensible and unpleasant, but more or less normal. However, it would be fair to say today that any terrorist incident is likely to include Mexican victims or victims of Mexican descent.
For example, this occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when at least 16 Mexicans died when planes hijacked by Islamic extremist militants crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The likelihood that, in the event of World War III Mexico would be directly affected too, is not small.
If the United States were attacked, whether by nuclear missiles or biological weapons, Mexico would be affected. A minor navigational error would put guided missiles in Mexico; radiation or biochemical weapons do not recognize borders, passports or ethnicities. And that cannot be ignored.