Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
Donald Trump launched his Presidential campaign by saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. 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.” In fact, first-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans. Trump accused Obama of being soft on immigration, but there are approximately 720,000 Mexicans who cross the border each year illegally, down from 1.6 million in 2000. Approximately half of these are caught by border control. During Trump’s campaign, he wanted a native-born Hispanic judge to recuse himself from a lawsuit because of his ethnicity, which Paul Ryan called “textbook racism.” Critics argue that a racist can’t work out a fair policy towards people one is personally prejudiced against.
So our friendly neighbors to the south, with whom we do $531 billion of trade every year, have been told that they will pay for a $20 billion wall between our countries which 60% of Americans oppose, they are facing punitive tariffs, and that our troops may be sent into Mexico if they don’t get rid of the drug lords. Threats of a trade war have escalated into threats of an invasion. Many economists across the political spectrum agree that a trade war could catapult our country into major recession.
Trump said repeatedly during his campaign, “We’re going to be unsigning a lot of executive orders, and immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties” – including DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Some say that Trump may go along with the 58% of Americans who oppose repealing DACA, and let kids stay who have lived most of their lives in the US, but spokesman Sean Spicer said, “His priority is first and foremost focused on people who pose a threat to people in our country, to criminals.” This implies that the kids who have no home at all back in Mexico will eventually be deported. Democratic Sen Dick Durbin and Republican Lindsey Graham are drafting a bill that aims to protect undocumented young people who could be at risk of deportation.
Republican Senator Mike Lee announced “Global Trade Accountability Act,” which would require the president to tell Congress about any trade action he wanted to take, present a cost-benefit analysis of the action and a time frame for it. Raising tariffs “would wreak havoc on many small and midsize manufacturers in my home state of Utah and across the country that rely on imports and globally connected supply chains,” Lee said. The Center for Automotive Research finds that a high tariff would be disastrous for the U.S. auto industry, leading car prices to spike and at least 31,000 U.S. auto manufacturing jobs to be lost. As the flow of goods from Mexico to the U.S. shrinks, Mexican consumers will collect fewer dollars and will have less to spend on U.S. exports.
As for the Wall, Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, is proposing that the Senate refuse to finance it. A California lawmaker said Monday he is introducing a bill that would require the project to first be approved by the state’s voters.
If you’re concerned about Trump’s actions against Mexico, find out about immigrant rights groups and various legal defense funds suing Trump. You can phone Senators Michael Bennett and Cory Gardner and let them know whether you think they should get behind Senator Mike Lee’s actions against high Mexican tariffs, Ron Wyden’s actions against the wall, or Durbin and Graham’s efforts to extend DACA.