Trump’s policies irk southern neighbor
Trade depends on U.S. partnerships
MEXICO CITY | Facing an unprecedented challenge from its always difficult neighbor to the north, Mexico is mobilizing to resist President Trump’s policies in ways that range from the sensible to the strange.
Mexican negotiators are hammering out a trade deal with Europe in a bid to reduce reliance on U.S. markets following Mr. Trump’s pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and his efforts to stop companies from moving U.S. plants south of the border. The U.S. receives three-quarters of Mexico’s exports and supplies half of its imports.
Faced with the U.S. president’s hard line on illegal immigration, Mexico has set up workshops and hotlines to educate migrants about their rights in the face of deportations, though those have actually fallen about 13 percent since Mr. Trump took office.
So common are the public service announcements about what migrants should do if U.S. immigration agents show up at their door — don’t open it, ask for the agents’ names and search warrants — that radio listeners in Mexico City now likely know more about dealing with U.S. agents than with corrupt local cops or about other pressing public issues like fighting dengue and Zika.
But Mr. Trump’s policies and comments about Mexico have also stirred up some odder suggestions and awakened some very old ghosts.
For the past 30 years, lawyer Guillermo Hamdan has spent his free time preparing legal arguments for declaring null and void the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, under which Mexico received $15 million from the U.S. but ceded California and most of Arizona, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. The territories have been part of the United States for almost 170 years — about seven times longer than they were part of independent Mexico.
Mr. Hamdan argues the treaty is invalid because it was signed under duress as the result of the 1846-48 Mexican-American War launched with a U.S. invasion. A Mexican victory would require Washington to return much of the territory or pay reparations that Mr. Hamdan calls “incalculable.”
While Mexico’s governments have shown no interest in taking up the case, his case has gained public attention lately in the country.
“The outrage over the humiliating treatment [of Mexico] by Trump” was the spur for dusting off the 170-year-old case, Mr. Hamdan said.