President Trump’s prolific comments on social media and elsewhere, along with his improvisatory approach, mean that while it’s easy to find his words, discerning his actual views and perspective can be challenging.
On Sunday and Monday, the president offered a series of heated tweets about immigration policy, NAFTA, and U.S. relations with Mexico. Reading the tweets in order brings some clarity, but the limitations of the form, as well as Trump’s repetitions and tendency toward invective leave much unclear. Instead, here’s an attempt to distill, in two paragraphs, Trump’s current view:
Twenty-five years ago, the United States gave Mexico an enormous gift: the North American Free Trade Agreement. The deal enriched Mexico, but impoverished the United States. Even worse, Mexico is repaying that generosity by sending massive flows of both drugs and people—and not their best people, mind you—over the border into the United States. Mexico could control the border with the U.S., but it refuses to do so. Now is the time for the U.S. to use the leverage it gained with NAFTA and stop that, by forcing Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.
Inextricably tied into this is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That policy is good, in that it allows good people brought to the U.S. as children to stay, but also bad, because it encourages large flows of people to the United States seeking to take advantage of it. On the one hand, Democrats are to blame for blocking the law, and the Senate needs to invoke the nuclear option and lower the threshold for all bills to 50 votes, but on the other hand, it’s too late now and DACA is over.