Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said some pretty crazy things throughout his campaign. Back in October, he presented one of his craziest ideas yet. He claimed that, if elected, he would build a wall across the entire Mexican-US border and — get this — make Mexico pay for it.
A recent response to Trump’s comments from Mexico’s former president, Felipe Calderon, exposes why Trump and his ideas are not just off, but bordering on ridiculously ignorant.
Calderon told CNBC that Trump may want to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants from entering the US, but the Mexican people will not pay a single cent to construct such a “stupid wall”. Besides, the wall would be useless.
Why? Well, because Mexicans aren’t really crossing the border anymore.
Ever since the US economy started going downhill, Mexicans on both sides of the border have been following the age-old wisdom I’m always promoting here to go where you’re treated best. And those five magic words aren’t leading Mexicans to the US, they’re leading them to Mexico.
A study by the Pew Research Center has shown that the flow of Mexican immigrants between Mexico and the US is at its lowest since 1990.
In fact, the net flow of Mexican immigrants entering the United States is actually negative.
Between 2009 and 2014 approximately 1 million Mexicans and their families left the United States for Mexico, while US census data only shows that roughly 870,000 Mexicans left Mexico to go to the United States.
Ignorance of such trends is not only evidence that — as Calderon put it — Trump is “not very well informed”, but it is also a reflection of the typical mindset of people in the United States. A mindset that is largely anti-immigrant and isolationist and tends to see the US as the most developed, the best of the first world, infallible, and the best option the world has to offer.
That, right there Mr. Trump, is the biggest fence the US has ever constructed.
It keeps millions and millions of Americans bottled up inside the United States because it keeps them from ever thinking of going anywhere else. If you believe you have the best and are the best, why look elsewhere? But, as Mexican migration shows, not everyone believes that.
And neither should you.
Go where you’re treated best – Mexico
Whether you’re in favor of immigration or not, a reversal like this is a clear sign for those who practice flag theory and go where they are treated best.
Mexicans are leaving the US because it’s no longer the bastion of economic freedom and opportunity that it once was. It’s losing its luster. In fact, I talk to people from a lot of countries who’ve visited or lived in the US and tell me that they weren’t that impressed. Even people from places like Venezuela and Spain, countries that are economic basket cases, have seen what the US has to offer and choose to opt out.
On the other hand, more and more Mexicans are choosing to stay in Mexico because, as Calderon mentioned, children studying in Mexican schools and universities have opportunities closer to home with Mexico’s unemployment rate around 4 percent, compared to 5.5 percent in the US.
Life is good in Mexico. Things are improving and growing and developing.
Which brings us to the question of why Americans never threaten to move to Mexico. You will often hear people say they are going to escape to Canada, but the reality is that Canada offers much of the same high taxes, high cost of living, and the increasingly socialist government that exists in the US.
As a nomad capitalist, I am always going against the grain and recommending the same strategy to anyone else who wants to be successful.
If you’re not comfortable with doing that, you can’t succeed.
When you start a business, you’re going against the grain. When you invest in things other than the stock market, you’re going against the grain. When you homeschool your kids or do any of the number of things that we talk about here, you’re basically spitting in the face of mainstream society.
Looking outside the borders of your home country is just another way to go against the grain. More importantly, it allows you to do what’s best for you and your family. And the truth of the matter is that the cost of living in a place like Mexico is more affordable, the country is more free in many ways, and it suits the needs of many people better than going and living in Canada or staying in the US.
What does Mexico have to offer?
Mexico’s large size and diversity offer something for every kind of expat. For those interested in real estate, Tulum is exploding with opportunity. For those who enjoy the cobblestone streets of Europe, Guanajuato is a quaint colonial city. For those who would prefer living in a large expat community, Mexico has the largest US expat population in the world, and the tourist town of San Miguel de Allende is a popular home for many of those expats.
If you prefer the grit of a place like New York City, Mexico City would be the perfect fit. If you’d rather enjoy the beach, Mexico has more than a few options. And for the more adventurous type, San Luis Potosi offers incredible outdoor recreation.
Regardless of location, Mexico is home to some of the best food in the world, rich indigenous cultures, historical ruins, world-class golf courses, and a decent percentage of English speakers, too.
Plus, Mexicans love US products, so it will be easy to find many of the comforts of home. Even better, airfare to the US to see family and friends is often cheaper than flights within the United States.
When it comes to doing business, Mexico is the strongest economy in Latin America and is the ninth-largest economy in the world. In fact, foreign investment hit a high in January as Mexico’s government bonds have become a favorite of emerging market investors.
Mexico has thriving automotive, aeronautical and electronic industries, among others. Plus, there is an ever-growing population of educated locals (who often speak English), and wages are still relatively low.
The list of opportunities could go on.
What really matters — whether you choose to move to Mexico or somewhere else — is that you get in that mindset that there’s a different something out there. You don’t have to stay behind the wall, believing that you already have the best. Take a chance and give the world a try.
You may have to go against the grain to get past that wall, but with Mexico on the other side of the border, you won’t have to go far to get a taste of the life of abundance the world has to offer.