JayMac’s opinion: New tariffs on Mexico won’t stem illegal immigration

May 31, 2019, 5:36 PM
border emergency declaration...
FILE - March 13, 2018: President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. (Evan Vucci, AP)
(Evan Vucci, AP)

DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet that the U.S. will impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, starting June 10. The White House said the duties will jump to 25% if Mexico doesn’t take action to slow or stop the flow of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States.

The Trump administration has grown increasingly frustrated. Border crossings in May jumped to the highest level in more than 12 years, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The announcement, which comes while Trump is also waging a trade war with China, wasn’t well received by Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 354 points, or 1.4%, to 24,815.04 Friday, with the market posting its worst May since 2010.

“Before we close the border, we’ll put the tariffs on the cars,” Trump told reporters. “I don’t think we’ll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico at 25% will be massive.”

Trump said he would lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.”

This is taxing American consumers for illegal immigration. If you’re buying a car produced in Mexico, and it cost $20,000, it’s now going to cost you 5% more, or $21,000. Mexico is not paying the added cost. But this does hurt Mexico when U.S. buyers decide they won’t pay the added 5% and look elsewhere.

Now, Mexico’s national farm council supports a surgical application of payback tariffs targeting U.S. Republican states — that means Utah.

Bosco de la Vega, head of Mexico’s main farm lobby, told Reuters that such retaliatory measures should only be applied as a last resort and that he supports the Mexican government’s efforts to first seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute.

U.S. imports of goods from Mexico totaled $346.5 billion in 2018.

Trade between Utah and Mexico topped $4 billion in 2017. Utah exported $684 million in products and imported from Mexico $3.3 billion in goods.

I think Mexico should do more on illegal immigration. The president has successfully identified the problem, but I’m not sure about his solution.

Trump likes to create mayhem first, and then, hopefully, swoop in and make a deal. I’ve seen the disruption part with North Korea (restarted launching missiles) and China (targeted U.S. goods with $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs), but so much the part about let’s get together, come to our senses and find common ground.

There is a way to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but a wall won’t do it. The way Trump has gone about controlling the border has created a massive escalation at the border. How?

  1. Immigrants believe a wall is going to be built. And, therefore, it’s going to be much harder to cross into the U.S.

2. Trump likes to talk on a daily basis about how easy it is to cross into this country. He does that to demonstrate the need for a wall. But he overexaggerates this message. He makes it sound like crossing the border is as easy as going to Disneyland. So why wouldn’t they come?

Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Don’t forget to review and subscribe to the JayMac News Show podcast on Apple Podcasts. Or follow Jay on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook.

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JayMac’s opinion: New tariffs on Mexico won’t stem illegal immigration