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Former Mexican president calls for bridges, not walls during U of U speech

(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH – It’s a rare visit from a former world leader at the University of Utah.  Former Mexican President Vincente Fox spoke to the crowd about border security and better trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

The former Mexican president acknowledged there is friction between his country and the U.S. over the topic of immigration and border walls.  However, he believes the best solution is to boost the economy of Mexico, which would improve trade with the U.S.

“What could be better for the United States then to have a successful neighbor down south?” he asks.

Fox says the North American Free Trade Agreement has improved Mexico’s economy by a massive amount.  He claims the value of work was worth an average of twelve times more in the U.S. than it was in Mexico before that deal was struck.

Fox adds, “By learning how to swim, or to jump walls, you’d make 12 dollars [instead of one].  Who of you would not go after that incentive?”

He took jabs at the concept of building more walls between the two countries.  Fox says the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall both eventually failed.

“It didn’t work.  People just jumped it or people just destroyed it,” Fox says.

The crowd inside Kingsbury Hall was sympathetic to Fox and his message.  One woman who attended the speech strongly agreed with Fox’s stance on border walls.

“We are all immigrants.  I think his perspective on that was refreshing,” she says.

However, there was a small group of protesters who stood outside the event, saying they support stronger border security.