The election of new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador could prove to be the best thing to happen for the United States since the election of Donald Trump himself. Unlike his predecessor, the man known popularly as AMLO is serious about working with the U.S. to reduce the number of immigrants flowing across the border, and he’s willing to take bold steps towards keeping Mexicans in Mexico. This includes the creation of economic “free zones” along the border, which will hopefully encourage the kind of economic growth that Mexico needs to stay competitive in a global marketplace.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week that AMLO has announced The Tax Incentive Decree for the Northern Border Region proposal to attract investments to the area and cut down on the number of Mexicans looking for employment in the United States. Inside the zone, the paper reports, income taxes will be reduced by a third and sales taxes will be slashed in half on imported goods. Minimum wages will go up by 100%, and fuel prices will be cut to match those found in the United States.
“It’s going to be the biggest free zone in the world,” AMLO said. “It is very important to project for winning investment, creating jobs and taking advantage of the economic strength of the United States.”
AMLO cannot be confused with a “Mexican Donald Trump” as far as policy style goes; he veers to the left while Trump leans to the right. But in their populist styles, they are more similar than they are different, leading many to figure that Trump and AMLO could work better together for the good of both nations. We can question whether what Mexico’s economy needs right now is a kind of heavy-handed, government-funded economic free zone, but if it helps cut down on the number of “economic refugees” that come across the border, it’s all the better for us.
It is perhaps even more essential, however, that Lopez Obrador crack down on illegal immigration coming into Mexico from Central America. While we still see far-too-high levels of migration from Mexican nationals into the U.S., the surge of the past year has been largely due to crippling amounts of immigration from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. If AMLO can get serious about building his OWN wall to keep these migrants out, it will be nearly as important to U.S. security as Trump’s wall…which, of course, remains a purely hypothetical construction.
Not just the U.S. but the entire world is beginning to understand the devastating toll unrestrained immigration can have on Western Civilization. As this understanding grows to become universal, perhaps we’ll find some real, lasting solutions to the problem.