Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, September 8, 2016



Can you say awkward? The recent meeting between US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was truly bizarre. What could have been an opportunity to clarify and compromise quickly became a strange farce. See, Trump demanded a wall be built on the nation's shared 169-year border. NOW! Any attempt at debate by the Mexican President was futile. A forced press conference succeeded in showing how far apart the two nations have become over this touchy issue.

We here at the DUNER BLOG would like to remind everyone about the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Signed by both nations in 1848, it sets the guidelines for the new international border. First off, it clearly states that the border should remain OPEN, with citizens of both nations allowed to cross at any time. In fact, for the next eighty years, the US / Mexico border could only be found only on maps. Anyone could wander back and forth. While you were subject to the law of each respective nation, you were free to work, earn money and buy property anywhere you pleased.

Aside from a misguided raid by Pancho Villa on Columbus, New Mexico in 1915, the international border has been a peaceful place. No more wars. Then, in 1924, the first official Border Patrol was established. The city of El Paso was the base for a large cavalry that roamed the deserts and prairies. Surprisingly, their aim was not to stop Mexicans from entering the US. Rather, the agency was on the patrol to catch American gangsters fleeing South. With Prohibition in full swing, there were many wanted men trying to do just that.

It really wasn't until the 1960's when things really began to change on the US / Mexican border. Activist Cesar Chavez shined light on the plight of the Bracero Workers. Millions of Mexican nationals were employed picking crops on the fields of California and Texas. This revelation lead to the regulation of the border in earnest. A fence was built and dozen offices were opened, checking passports and demanding work visas. While many Mexicans still crossed (legally, according to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) at non-patrolled areas, that number has decreased steadily. In fact, it's at a fifteen year low...a point President Pena Nieto brought up. Why the sudden fuss now, Senor Trump??

We here at the DUNER BLOG feel that International treaties MATTER. For example, the U.K. honored its centuries-old agreement to return Hong Kong to China. What Trump fails to recognize is the uniqueness of the US / Mexico relations. Prior to ceding five Western states to the USA back in 1848, Mexico demanded $15 million dollars and guaranteed land rights to Mexicans living in them. The US paid the money, but failed to protect the ranchero owners. It also re-negged on the Colorado River rights. Today, gringos drink up every drop before it hits the border. In summary, it's unfair to lump this complex situation in the same group as Europeans who entered through Ellis Island, like Trump's great grandfather did.

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