Memo From Mexico/Middle America: Is The Mexican Government Anticipating Reverse Migration After Trump’s Election?


repatriacionesMy family and I just returned from our summer visit to Mexico. We saw relatives and friends, ate some food we don’t eat here, and got the car worked on for less than it would cost in the United States (cheap labor!) While there we also watched the results of the Brexit vote. The Mexican pundits mostly opposed the UK leaving the EU. Hmmm. But I also noticed something which could signal the Mexican government is preparing for deportations and the return of its citizens after the election of President Trump. [Mexican government prepares for ‘Trump Emergency’, Fox News Latino, May 05, 2016]

There is an immigration station at the border where I have to obtain permits both for my car and to visit the country. I’ve been to that particular immigration station many times, but this time it had been partially remodeled. It included a section called Repatriaciones [Repatriations]. It didn’t look like it was in use yet, but the sign indicated that various benefits were available for Mexicans returning to Mexico.

Trump is still being bashed in the Mexican media, though at least some pundits are analyzing him objectively. The Mexican government is using anti-Trump rhetoric for its own benefit [‘A perfect piñata’: why disdain for Trump is a plus for Mexico’s government, by David Agren, Guardian, June 23, 2016]. And he’s still the subject of conversation among ordinary Mexicans. (I got into a few discussions about Trump with Mexicans, though out of four conversations only one became an argument.)

But the Mexican government is also launching a new program to help Mexicans return to their home country, as if they are expecting there will be more demand for that soon.

To return to one’s country is the dream of many immigrants. The Government of Mexico just presented the plan Somos Mexicanos. Aquí tienes las puertas abiertas [We Are Mexicans. Here you have the open doors] to give assistance to Mexicans in the United States who decide to return.

[México ofrece ayuda a los migrantes que quieran regresar de Estados Unidos“Mexico offers aid to the migrants who want to return from the United States,” Univision, July 6, 2016].

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

According to the Mexican government’s own website (here and here) the Somos Mexicanos plan was instituted two years ago, which was before Trump was even on their political radar.

But maybe not much was done with it. Now, the Mexican government is promoting and it—maybe–taking it seriously.

On July 5th, in Mexico City’s Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia [“Museum of Memory and Tolerance”] Mexican Foreign minister Ruiz Massieu and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong (right) signed an agreement to make “access to social programs for Mexican migrants” easier.

Said Osorio Chong at the signing, “Mexicans who return to our country will have all the benefits of social programs that the government of the (Mexican) Republic has, of health, social development and housing, because they have the right to them.”

Preach it, Osorio Chong. We’ll see how that works out.

The same day, Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu tweeted about the program:

Translation: ”The Somos Mexicanos program will make it easier for Mexican migrants in the U.S. who decide to return to Mexico to have access to Mexican government social programs.”

mexicangovernmentstereotypingThe Somos Mexicanos will include an information campaign in both Mexico and the United States, the latter carried out through the vast consular network “so the fellow Mexicans know their rights and supports they can count on upon their return.” Reportedly, the program is to help a returnee find employment, with the final goal being “the re-insertion in their community”.

It sounds good. Of course, the Mexican government tends to hype programs that are great in theory but never quite work out. It’s also unclear how many returning Mexicans the government could handle. Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

It’s possible the Mexican government is hedging its bets. The Mexican government will continue meddling in our affairs and bashing Trump. At the same time, it will take in what Mexicans return. Indeed, Somos Mexicanos could be part of the effort to keep the loyalty of Mexicans in the U.S., by showing Mexicans in El Norte that their government is looking out for them. The hype may impress even those who don’t plan to go back.

I do wish Mexico well. It ought to take in returning Mexicans, be they deportees or simply Mexicans who opt to return to Mexico. And there’s precedent for this. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Mexican policy toward Mexican-Americans was to convince them to return.

But we should have no illusions Mexico is abandoning its manipulation of American citizenship policy for its own benefit. And Mexico still wants the flow of remittances, over $20 billion in April 2016.

Of course, in the end, it’s up to our own government to protect our sovereignty. If we had a government that did that, it wouldn’t matter a hill of beans what Mexico does. The Mexican GNP is over a trillion dollars. Mexico can still survive without remittances.

But if the U.S. doesn’t get control of its borders, nothing will happen. We can’t rely on Mexico to do it for us.

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan`s wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.