Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Trump's Mexican Wall Is Risky Business For South Dakotans

     I haven't found much in the way of objective sources to support the feasibility or
In Trump We're Supposed To Trust
E Pluribus Baloney
(photo from perezhilton.com)
practicality of Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
You might have better luck finding some agreeable analyses, and I invite you to share your sources here. In the meantime, all the research I did came up with conclusions and professional opinions that uniformly pan the idea as unwieldy and technically implausible.  I listened to Trump's speech at Liberty University yesterday and got his usual (and typically unsupported with details) claim that as a builder he has vast experience with such projects, implying that we should trust him to get the job done.  His claim that he'll get Mexico to pay for it (by blocking transfer payments from here to Mexico) seems doubtful in this day and age of electronic commerce and legal obstacles, but his followers apparently don't care much about how he intends to get the thing built at Mexico's expense.  Their enthusiastic fealty has propelled Trump into serious contention for the presidency, a prospect that business-oriented South Dakotans should consider before buying into this election cycle's Trump-O-Rama.

     Mexico is South Dakota's 2nd largest export market.  We South Dakotans  annually sell about $1.6 billion worth of goods offshore, most of it to Canada (about $700 million) and Mexico (about $350 million).  For some perspective, that $350 million to Mexico represents the value (using
Trump's Wall And Commerce?
Build It And They Won't Come
(photo from foxnews.com)
today's prices at the Chicago Board of Trade) of about 70% of South Dakota's 2015 wheat harvest. 
 This is a serious chunk of our state's agricultural output being sold to a customer that could probably just as easily secure its imports of ag products from any number of eager sellers around the world. Building a Berlin-style wall isn't the way to foster better relations with one of our best customers.  On the contrary, it sets an adversarial tone that doesn't do anybody any good, especially South Dakota farmers who depend on Mexican business as a market for their products.   
     And we're just one among many states that depend on Mexico as a customer, many of them even more so than South Dakota does. 26 other states call Mexico their leading trading partner, and 7 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico. The implications of building a wall between symbiotically dependent countries like ours lead me to one conclusion:  it would be a disaster.
     Does this mean that the U.S., in our zeal to preserve good customer relations, needs to roll over and acquiesce to Mexico when it comes to its immigration relationship with us?  Of course not.  Some things bear changing, particularly in the way of enforcing immigration laws that are already on our books. But going the Trump route with that draconian fantasy of his?  No way.  As most of us know, we're better off trying to make friends than make enemies, and considering the way that our relationship with Mexico has evolved into so many business and cultural ties, abruptly walling ourselves off from each other will only encourage Mexico to look elsewhere for products that they're currently buying from South Dakota.  


  1. Add to that the reality of the US ever increasing cell ph / electronics market, most of witch now comes from our neighbors to the south, and we need them as much as they need us.

    The Blindman

  2. I'm wondering if anyone with half an eye toward history has examined Russia's building of the Berlin Wall and its fall a few decades later. To the best of my recollection the Wall did not end people and goods moving back and forth it just turned it underground and much more difficult/expensive. Mr. Trump, take down that wall (said by an as yet unnamed Mexican politician in 2030).

  3. How is it working for us so far? Have you checked out our unbalanced trade. Wake up.Talk is cheap as this article proves.