He promised to secure the U.S. border and keep out “bad hombres,” but Mexican-Canadians already feel the walls closing in thanks to president-elect Donald Trump.
The Trump win has had a negative effect on the Mexican economy, with the peso dropping 12 points the day after the election. Now, some Mexican-Canadians are afraid of what a Trump presidency will mean for them and their loved ones south of the border.
“Most of the people I talk to and on social media . . . what I see is fear,” said Oscar Rios with the Calgary Mexican Canadian Cultural Society. “People are afraid. Even though we are in Canada, a lot of Mexicans here are first-generation immigrants.”
Rios said Mexican-Canadians are worried about their relatives in Mexico and the U.S. because of the language Trump used to describe Mexicans during the campaign.
“From the beginning, his first war cry was against Mexicans, insulting Mexicans,” Rios said. “Not necessarily making any statements, just insulting Mexicans.”
Rios said he has seen Trump’s kind of anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican rhetoric before when he lived in the U.S. during George W. Bush’s presidency. For Rios, there is no question that both Bush and Trump used the Mexican people as scapegoats to push their numbers in the polls with American voters.
“He’s not convincing them to be bigots, he’s just giving them a voice and officializing discrimination.”
Guillermo Cruz Rico, a lawyer from Mexico City based in Toronto, said the reaction among his friends and relatives to the election outcome was initially surprise, followed by concern.
He said his office has been receiving calls for months from people in the Mexican and Latino communities who want to move from the United States to Canada.
“I understand as well that people in the States from Mexico are strongly concerned about going back to Mexico,” he said.
Rico added that this could be an opportunity for “Canadians and Mexicans to try to get closer.”
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