NORMAN, Okla. – Since the construction of the Great Wall of China to protect against Mongol invasion, history has proven that building walls to separate people has never really worked.
But that has not stopped leaders from trying to build walls again and again.
Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, during the Roman Empire, the Berlin Wall during Cold War, and more recently Israeli West Bank wall, just to name a few.
And even if through history it has been proved that wall does not work eternally and in one or another way walls had every time been abandoned.
Donald Trump (and Ted Cruz before him), has said repeatedly he will “build a wall” if he is elected, a proposition still supported by over 40 percent of the Americans in 2016.
First of all, there is already a barrier along the Mexican frontier, that didn’t stop millions of illegal Mexicans immigrants to enter in the US during the last decades.
In addition, U.S policies are in part responsible for the coming of Mexican immigrants into its country.
An expert in international finance and economic development at the University of Oklahoma, Firat Demir said American subsidiaries in agriculture have greatly impacted Mexican economy, instead to produce the corn locally (an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine), Mexicans started to import corn from the US.
The consequence is dozens of thousands of farmers in Mexico have lost their jobs during the last decades.
“Today the US is the biggest corn producer in the world,” Demir said.
He added that the creation of the maquiladoras along the border with the US to export manufactured produce has principally made Mexico dependent of the US market (98 percent of Mexican exportation goes to the US).
“When American market slows down Mexican manufacturers slow down, creating mass unemployment,” Demir said.
Benefit of Mexican immigration to the US economy
When Mexicans are losing their job because of the US subsidiaries in agriculture, some of them cross the border to work in American farms, construction, tourism, and manufacturing companies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture stated in 2014, “About half of the hired workers employed in U.S. crop agriculture were unauthorized, with the overwhelming majority of these workers coming from Mexico.”
According to BBVA Research, Mexican immigration (including 2nd and 3rd ) contributed about 8 percent of the US GDP in 2011.
It also younger the American average age, when Hispanic (Mexican more than half of the Hispanic population) median age is 28 years old, the U.S. median age is 38.1 year.
The youth of the Hispanic population helped American demographics to rise while other competitors such as Europe and Japan have seen an acceleration of aging population, which has led to a decrease in economic growth.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, America has continued to have a high GDP growth during the last few decades.
Decrease of Mexican immigration
According to Pew Research Center study from 2015, since the Great Recession of 2008, the flow of Mexicans immigrant population in the US has been negative by 150,000 migrants.
During that same period, the Mexican-born population decreased from 12.8 million in 2007 to 11.7 million in 2014 due principally a drop of more than 1 million illegal Mexican immigrants.
The reason for a quick decline is mainly due to the economic crisis in the US and the difficulty to find a job for the less educated migrants.
Another important point is that in U.S. states such as Arizona, U.S. immigration law has been strictly enforced.
The consequence is according to The U.S. Census Bureau, Mexico is no longer the first source of immigrants to the US. China followed by India has taken the lead since 2013.
In addition, the Hispanic population is no longer the fastest growing population in the United States. That distinction now goes to immigrants from Asia.
For Latinos, their immigration rates went from a 4.4 percent during the first seven years of the 2000’s to 2.8 percent between the years 2007 and 2014.
The Great Recession contributed to a reduction in Latino birth rates, taking it to the U.S. average. It also led them to leave the U.S. and return to their homeland.
A decline of fertility rate has also been observed directly in Mexico from 1970 to 2016, the total fertility rate dropped from 6.70 percent to 2.26 percent.
Corporations play role in rising unemployment in the U.S. and Mexico
Demir also said that politicians like to single out minorities when times are difficult, noting that in periods of financial turmoil, Jews were targeted in the Great Depression era and prior to that period Italians, Irish and African-Americans were targeted.
“And now it’s Latinos,” he said.
Demir said those really responsible for this situation are American corporations that benefit from billions of dollars of tax credits and very flexible legislation as amplified by the North American Free Trade Agreement, approved during Pres. Bill Clinton’s administration over 20 years ago.
The result is corporations pay almost no tax while they are very profitable.
As Asians have become the first source of immigrants, will the U.S. try to build a Pacific Wall?
Red Dirt Report was launched on July 4, 2007, as an independent website covering all manners of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state.