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Editorial: david@cuencahighlife.com

U.S. expats are also at risk of Trump’s immigration policy revisions

Three members of the Mexican Congress have an answer to U.S. President Donald Trump’s funding plan for his wall on the southern U.S. border.

If Trump applies taxes to Mexican imports to the U.S. or to remittances sent home by Mexicans living in the U.S., the congressmen say they will introduce legislation to confiscate property owned by U.S. citizens in Mexico. A less draconian option, they say, is to attach liens to the property to repay the government for losses from the Trump taxes.

U.S. citizens — not counting U.S.-based corporations — own an estimated $20 billion in Mexican real estate.

On Saturday, one of the Congressmen said the measures could also be applied if Mexicans living in the U.S. are “treated badly” as a result of new immigration policies. He suggested that the Mexican government could review the immigration status of all U.S. citizens living in Mexico, estimated to be between 600,000 and 800,000.

About 8,000 U.S. expats live in San Miguel de Allende.

The news of the past week has offered voluminous coverage of the impact immigration changes will have on foreigners living in the U.S., both those with visas and those without. Entirely off the radar, however, is the impact those changes could have on U.S. expats, particularly those living in Latin America.

There are good reasons for the U.S. to revise its immigration policies and there is nothing wrong with Trump moving forcefully to make changes. Other recent administrations have dodged and jerry-rigged the policies for generations.

On the other hand, Trump’s bungled executive orders are nothing more than a PR freak show. What we have is the Trump Doughboy galumphing across the international media stage, dancing an idiot’s jig, waving his orders in air as holy writ. Although judges have already reversed parts of the orders and more reversals will certainly follow, the uproar they have stirred is only a precursor of what’s to come.

There will be bad blood and it will affect expats.

Of expats living in Latin America, those in Mexico certainly have the most to fear. If taxes are applied that damage the Mexican economy, and  if hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals are deported from the U.S., it is inevitable that U.S. citizens living in Mexico will become a major issue. Whether they will be subject to new immigration standards and costs or just to the anger of locals hurt by U.S. policy, remains to be seen.

See “Expats in Mexico: Will we be Thrown Out”

Expats in Ecuador are in far better shape than their Mexican brethren and are far less likely to become pawns in geopolitical gamesmanship. Besides residing in small, largely insignificant country that doesn’t share a border with the U.S., their host government is probably the world’s biggest proponent of “international citizenship.” President Rafael Correa has spent the last two weeks at the United Nations and in Europe promoting the concept of a world without borders. On Saturday, he signed what is arguably the world’s most liberal immigration law. For refugees, expats and others living away from their homeland, it is good news.

Although Ecuador expats will face anger and resentment from their neighbors as immigration rules are toughened, it will be mild in comparison to that felt by expats in Mexico. As Ecuador’s foreign minister points out, the vast majority of Ecuadorians in the U.S. live in “sanctuary” states and cities that offer a higher degree of security from new federal policies. Although Trump has signed an executive order to freeze funding to sanctuary governments, the issue will be in court for years (click here, to read more).

It will be weeks, probably months, before the full extent of Trump’s immigration changes are known and it is foolish to speculate on their full impact on expats. Suffice it to say that there will be an impact.

_________________

About the Author

Sylvan Hardy

Sylvan Hardy divides his time between Cuenca, the U.S. and Ethiopia. He is a former Southeast Asia news correspondent and columnist for several British newspapers.

  • markshlitz

    So Mexico and all these other Countries make it hard to LEGALLY come and reside with them. Yet they fully expect a free ride in the USA. How about treating the US people the way you expect your people to be treated?

    • Dan

      You missed the point, pal. This is simply an old fashioned case of quid pro quo.

      • Brian

        Except Mexico needs us far more than we need Mexico.

    • Erin Scholnick-Lee

      No, they do not do that now. BUT, they can and they will retaliate, if and when the policies change in the USA. 🙂

      • John Smith

        May the Mexican “retaliation” lead quickly and directly to WAR!!!

        Those lazy, ignorant, ingrates will soon be on the wrong side of a real war. We can make Mexico the 51st State if they prefer?

        • Joanne Bee

          Really? Idiot.

          • Stan Odessite

            No doubt.

        • RebellionQuasher

          Blockhead.

        • Nightguy

          Bannon, is that you?

        • Marian Nadler

          You tried that before. There is no way Mexico will let you steal more land from them.

        • Foxy

          Whe n has the US ever won a war, you are all loud mouth braggerts

          • Dan

            Didn’t we kick ass in Vietnam and Afghanistan?

          • No.

          • deibiddo jioji

            What an abysmal knowledge of recent history you display. The USA, tail between its legs, was the way it left Vietnam and it certainly did not win in Afghanistan.

          • Glenda Stafford

            No, not really.

        • wrikar

          “roid rage? Maybe dial back a bit John.

        • Elaine Mercedes Mendoza

          You all are SO out of line. I am an American Citizen living in Mexico and let me tell you—they are the KINDEST and sweetest people. We are clearly the haters in this story. Let´s not forget—–half of the USA was Mexico. It is this ¨I am the bigger bully¨ mentality that makes people so obnoxious.

        • Robert Nordgren

          Now we know why donny tinyhands won, idiots like you that are clueless

        • SThomson

          You definitely got the president you deserve.

    • jonr

      do you really think your Ecuadorian neighbor can just show proof of income, identity, and criminal records to just waltz into the USA? there’s no easy entrance for most latin americans.

    • MaureenSmullen

      You really should not comment on things you do not understand. You obviously have NO clue whatsoever what it takes to become a temporary or permanent resident in Mexico, nor what it takes to own property. Your ignorant racism is showing. Thank you for outing yourself.

    • StillWatching

      You are grossly misinformed if you believe that it is more difficult to emigrate to (or even just visit) any country other than the U.S., than it is for a Latin American to visit or emigrate to the U.S. Free ride? What are you talking about?

    • sf24hr

      Wrong, my mother retired in southern Baja 24 years ago and has been treated very well. I spend a lot of time there as well and have found political reciprocation to be very quick, both good and bad.

      • Donna Luttmann

        I live in the southern baja as a permanent resident for the past 6 years. I love it here the Mexican people are great and have welcomed us into their community. I am embarrassed by the whole story unfolding. Not that the immigration laws are being revised, but at the circus that is going on there. I am not sure there is a credible source of information about what is really
        going on. From the outside looking in we look like a bunch of bafoons to the rest of the world. It is really utterly disgusting to watch.

        • Nina Carmen Mervič

          hehehe.. i had to smile at this comment 🙂 bunch of bafoons 🙂 so cute 🙂 i’m from europe and that’s exactly what people think about the US. i was born to a country that fell into pieces and later lived in a “new” one with a different name.. so for me.. passports and borders are not really important. i like US and i love walmart :)) but.. electing Trump was such a minus for you guys 🙂

    • Eduardo Duran

      Well Said Mark, there is so much political correctness, that respect for our USA is very low.

    • mexsudo

      Mexico does not make it “hard”, but there are steps that prevent the indigent.

    • SThomson

      You should stop believing everything the right wing propaganda machine tells you. They conveniently ignore the millions who came here illegally to work hard and pay their own way. They also fail to tell you about the taxes they contribute to our Social Security system via an ITIN number (but are not entitled to draw Social Security). I’m not condoning illegal immigration but please stop demonizing people who do what you might have done if you had been in their shoes. Unbelievable that years of this political propaganda has actually made it acceptable for people who call themselves Christians to demean a whole group of people and to elect a man who boasts about grabbing pussies. World gone mad.

      • Katheryn

        It truly is a “mad” “mad” world! I would compare Trump to running the Roman Empire back in the day. Not that another Clinton was a good option either. Perhaps, “sad” world is more applicable now.

  • Galileo

    Now that Trump is president all of a sudden all the bad immigration policies of the past are now creations of his? Are you out of your f’ing minds? Let the man take time to take a piss and let’s see what he is planning to do with the job.

    • GoDucks

      We already know about what he’s going to do. Stop him now.

      • From Palestine to Mexico, the walls must be destroyed.

        We don’t fight fascism because victory is assured. We fight fascism because we will never surrender to tyranny!

        • Huatulco Frank

          facism??? and god dam idiot

        • fredtover

          What you want open borders? Your liberal viewpoint is irrelevant… please come up for air and smell the coffee!

          • Yes, I advocate for the abolition of borders, nations and governments. History well documents the fallacy, violence, destruction of these tools and institutions. They are simply a way for the global state, as the enforcers of the global elite ruling class, to control, oppress and dominate the masses.

            In regards to my “liberal viewpoint”, my beliefs are far, far left of what you know and call liberals.

            As far as my viewpoint (post) being irrelevant, I think the millions of those who participated in the Women’s March all across the world just over a week ago documents the relevance of national and global human rights, justice and equality for all of mankind. Additionally, the recent mass protests at major U.S. airports this past weekend against Trump’s draconian immigration policy illuminates what is irrelevant and what is not.

            I repeat, we don’t fight fascism because victory is assured. We fight fascism because we will NEVER surrender to tyranny.

            First, they are coming for the Muslims. Next, they’ll come for the…. We say “Not this time Motherf******!” We know your fascist history.

          • hans

            Right on brother or Sister :)!!!

          • Katheryn

            All this attention about a wall. Not once during the campaign did I hear anything about all of the underground tunnels allowing many negative people and dangerous substances brought in. Do we build a wall that also extends down to block those people?

    • Joanne Bee

      He has already had his piss party. Now it is time to see what his supporters have wrought.

  • Jake

    “it is foolish to speculate on their full impact on expats” Which you pretty much just did absent the word “full”

  • Tommy H.

    “Bungled,” “freak show.” Gee, I guess Hardy is a Democrat. I thought I was reading the words of Oliver Hardy, not Sylvan.
    The only people Ecuador will throw out are the ex-pats down here illegally in the first place. I hear Ecuador wants to kick out those who are wanted by the police in the U.S. Fair enough.

    • MaureenSmullen

      Doubtful, based on this: “…there is nothing wrong with Trump moving forcefully to make changes. Other recent administrations have dodged and jerry-rigged the policies for generations.”
      And since he claims to have been a columnist for “several British newspapers”, I would also guess he is not American.

  • Kathy

    A true journalist would never have used the term “Trump’s Doughboy” to describe POTUS. Clearly, the author’s bias is palpable.
    So Mexico will confiscate all property owned by US citizens. Hmmm. It seems to me to be an apples and oranges response. Even Ecuador deports illegal (undocumented) migrants.

    • Melinda Johnson

      I am a total independent, not of either party and I believe the journalist aptly describes President Trump’s behavior so far. If he would get out of the weeds on Twitter and recognize that astute new business owners and executives give themselves a little time to “learn the ropes” of a new environment and forays of a business before jumping in to make drastic changes, so they don’t hang themselves and the venture. Decisions made “under fire”, usually are not good ones. I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he needs to let all if the American people know he can hold himself to a higher standard than what he is displaying. He says that he can be “the most” presidential. please, please, Pres. Trump, show us so we can have change with peace for all

      • Globetrotter

        Internationally, if you are an American, that is all she wrote. Do you think non- Americans distinguish between Democrats, Republicans or care for that matter? To the world, Trump is merely the latest chosen expression of American culture. The hate and fear he represents will not be confined to the USA, it will be felt everywhere Americans travel to.

        • nards barley

          Then for your personal safety, it may be best if you return to where you are from.

          • Globetrotter

            You are caught in American assumptions, I am not American. But like most non-Americans, I have no trouble traveling and being welcome everywhere.

            It cannot be a surprise to anyone that the civilized world has been looking at America with increasing distaste. Trump will accelerate this trend and it will inevitably have both a social and possibly and legal effect internationally, no matter what presently popular flavor of hate individual Americans choose to espouse.

            This is simply a bald truth and I feel bad for you. Does this mean you will drone bomb me now?

      • wrikar

        Bannon has repeatedly said he wants the chaos. This is not accidental.

  • mches56

    “Trump’s bungled executive orders are nothing more than a PR freak show. What we have is the Trump Doughboy galumphing across the international media stage, dancing an idiot’s jig, waving his orders in air as if they are holy writ.”
    I guess the author does not like Trump??? HHMMM? No biased reporting here.

    • MaureenSmullen

      One: This is an opinion piece, not a report (all speculation)…and the words were edited to FAVOR Trump now (and te sentence you refer to was removed):
      “There are good reasons for the U.S. to revise its immigration policies and there is nothing wrong with Trump moving forcefully to make changes. Other recent administrations have dodged and jerry-rigged the policies for generations.”
      Regardless Trump’s policies are VERY dangerous.

  • Dan

    Hey folks, this is a column. It’s opinion. It’s supposed to be biased. It’s fine to disagree but at least understand what you’re disagreeing with.

    • Phil Cobb

      ..and this thread is why we avoid gringo’s.

      • LadyMoon

        Help me out here….how do you avoid yourself if you are a gringo?

        • Phil Cobb

          Just one more example…

        • animal lover

          Really LadyMoon? Was that the best you could come up with? You must be one hard core liberal. What Phil meant was that they avoid OTHER gringos. After reading your reply I completely understand why.

          • LadyMoon

            I prefer “flaming liberal”, thank you.

        • Globetrotter

          Very difficult. It is sad culture that is the problem, and culture takes generations to be rid of or change. Mr. Cobb may find his compatriots unsavory, but he cannot escape the shared template. At the American core is fear, hate and intolerance. He exhibits all three.

      • MaureenSmullen

        Let me guess, you are probably going to say that you are not American (Canadian, Brit, etc.), hence NOT a Gringo. I got news for you, in the eyes of all Mexicans, you ARE a Gringo. The author wrote for British newspapers…so why do you assume he is a “gringo”. What elitist nonsense.

        • Phil Cobb

          Amazing how each of your judgements are so off base. But I must thank you for providing even one more reason.

      • nards barley

        Then you must live outside Cuenca.

    • Rob Collins

      Yeah, which obvisouly the writer does not understand..he just has overinflated opinins of his grandious arm flailing. What a shameful piece, even if it is “opinin” it is written as if it is fact…..and it in reality is pure hatred and immaturity to know the difference!

  • Ed Sanders

    Excellent work, Sylvan. You’ve got the morons all worked up. Those of us in the “literate minority” get your point.

  • Edward A. Konderla

    One has to accept the good with the bad. I have a great deal invested in Ecuador but strongly support Ecuador laws on immigration and the United States laws which Trump is now enforcing. If Ecuador chooses to throw me out because I’m American and take my property that is their choice and I have no option but comply. As usual liberals want it both ways. It’s the same with global warming, they still have carbon footprints way beyond what they need but everybody else needs to change. They love goring other peoples ox but don’t dare touch theirs.

  • LadyMoon

    Good article and so well-written. Since I avoid t-Rumpsters in person, once I identify them, this is a good way to get their thoughts. Scary, but helpful.

    • Carol Hammond

      ahhhh such a kind hearted soul you are…..

      • LadyMoon

        Just old and retired and selective with whom I spend my last days/months/years on the planet. Works for me.

    • Animal lover

      You being a hard core liberal, I bet Trump supporters avoid you as well. Can’t blame them. Have you ever tried to be positive and uplifting?

      • Teresa

        I’m a liberal and proud of it – I’m not sure why conservatives throw it out like an epithet but it’s like saying, “You like puppies” and thinking it’s an insult. Oh, burn! I’m a liberal. You got me. I also like puppies I’m ashamed to admit. (Call me a “libtard” if you want but that says WAY more about you than it does about me.) And I also avoid Trump supporters as much as I possibly can. That’s MY way of being positive and uplifting. Hope to meet you some day LadyMoon. You sound like a nice lady, very positive and uplifting.

      • LadyMoon

        Read above….I prefer “flaming liberal”. Don’t understand your attempt the communicate….something?….with “Have you ever tried….”

  • edgeof 2

    Drill baby drill !!!

  • Dee Dee Jackson

    Sylvan Hardy you just keep on keepin’ on!

  • Kris Thompson

    Only an idiot would ever buy property in any of these banana republics. It is the chances you take. In the meantime, Mexicans can keep their property in the USA. Who are the real fascists here?

  • Michael

    “Remember the Alamo!”…..(Please refer to WikiLeaks, if you are not American.)

  • Michael

    Of course, I meant “Wikipaedia”.

  • animal lover

    Mexico also has laws against illegal immigrants. Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. The key word here is ILLEGAL immigrants. So I don’t get it. If people get into Mexico illegally they get imprisoned but the Mexican president want illegal Mexicans to flood the USA so we can take care of them spending billions of USA tax payers money and we shouldn’t implement our laws? Than why doesn’t the Mexican government take care of illegals in Mexico? Double standard I guess.

  • Rob Collins

    You need to go back and stay in ethiopia…I am sure the politics there are way better, how dare yu yave the sudacity to write such an inflamed and biggoted article, when you have no first hand knowledge of what is going on, other than your own biased views….obvisuly, not a a red bloded a,ercian one! Hopefully they will void YOUR visa!

    • lorenzo

      Where’s Stillwatching when you need him?

    • StillWatching

      u rite gud

  • Elke L Gazvoda

    Please identify the 3 Congress members or provide your Mexican News source. I have shared this article with various groups and people are questioning the validity of this statement? I am German, my husband is American and we live and own property on the Pacific coast.

    • Ellis Nelson

      It’s in the Mexico City newspapers. Do your research.

      • Elke L Gazvoda

        I did. Could find absolutely NOTHING. Please post a link to the Mexico City newspaper…

  • David Naccari

    Wow, so glad to see your article is fair and unbiased and devoid of any vitriol or name calling. Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 U. S. citizens living in Mexico, how many are there illegally and how many have committed crimes either in Mexico or previously in the United States? I think that might have some relevance to the discussion.

  • Dan

    Do you really think President Rafael Correa would be a vocal advocate for a “world without borders” and, for better or worse, Ecuador have one of the world’s most liberal policies on entry of foreigners into the country if it bordered Iran, Syria, Somalia, or Afghanistan?

  • richardgrabman

    There is, of course, resentment against the “ghettoized gringos” and … while I don’t expect violence against them here in Mexico… I wouldn’t be surprised to see a crack-down on the huge number of “reverse wetbacks” (full disclosure… I was one for a period of time when I moved to Mexico almost 17 years ago), and those that take advantage of long-term (180 day) tourist visas to establish themselves as quasi-permanent residents.

    OTOH, Mexico has a long and honorable history of absorbing immigrants and refugees, which has been lately skewered by recent administrations’ willingness to cooperate with the United States (witness the crackdown on Central American migrants here), and there has been a call from both the left and right for a return to our “traditional values”… which include tolerating foreigners in our midst.

  • Joanne Bee

    Yes.

  • Linda Zenith

    Thanks Sylvan. Your article has gone “viral” far beyond Cuenca and is now the hot topic on Mexico gringo social media. All the gringos here are wondering about the congressmen threatening to take their property. If they could only read Spanish, they would have read about it the local newspapers.

    Looking at the comments, my question is: are all the morons leaving comments in Cuenca or Mexico?

  • Edward A. Konderla

    It is confusing isn’t it. Basically I think liberals, by and large, are intellectually dishonest and hypocrites. Is that better?

  • Gene Weidner

    Somewhere in this thread was a comment about the “literate minority”, a term coined by H.L. Mencken, America’s most brilliant conservative. Reading the remarks following this article, I am struck by the fact that most readers were unable to grasp its simple argument — that expats will be affected by changes to US immigration policy — and went tearing off on pointless, vindictive tangents. Mencken had little use for lynch mobs.

  • fredtover

    Mexico wouldn’t dare offend all the gringos living in Mexico they bring millions of $$ a year into the economy, this is just saber rattling, they are bluffing of course. If they did that they would lose their multi-billion tourist industry in retaliation also.

  • William Keyes

    Well I believe it’s fairly clear that once We expats get residency we are subject and also protected by the laws of Ecuador the same as goes for citizens of Ecuador. And in their Constitution it’s very clear that both citizens and permanent residents are protected by the due process of lawSo it seem to me to be virtually impossible for us expats to be deported for no reason. The only threat to expats are those who come here on a three month tourist visa and think they can wait until the last minute to renew it. So given the likelihood that the current situation in the US will lead to more people coming here the road to Asoges will be jamed up with people trying to get one of the 20 slots

  • itaia

    That is nonsense from three politicians in Mexico. The last thing Mexicans wants is to discourage solvent Americans, Canadian and European from living in Mexico. See “real estate Puerto Vallarta” and “real estate San Miguel Allende”. Mexico even allows resident U.S. Americans to be insured by Mexicos excellent national medical service for $ 300 a year ! By the way: Listen to Mexican quality music, search for JAVIER SOLIS in “youtube”.

  • michael

    You get what you vote for America. So how is that Trump working out for ya? My god folks this is week two of his administration. This is what happens when you are out voted by lite bigots and basically naive people living in rural areas who don’t travel and have a zero world view. These people know Junior’s car number but couldn’t find Germany on a world map.

    • Edward A. Konderla

      I love him. He is the best thing since sliced bread. I think the old “breaking a few eggs to make an omelet” applies.

  • Dot W

    For those of you Mexican expats who haven’t seen this …
    “US Expats in Mexico: Will We Be Thrown Out?”
    http://www.theglobalist.com/american-expats-in-mexico-united-states/

  • maureen newman

    To the author, Sylvan Hardy. Can you please provide the names of the three Congressmen and the source from where you obtained the comments from one of the Congressmen on Saturday? This is a very serious topic for US expat homeowners and I think it would add credibility to your article if you would please post the information requested. Many thanks!

  • Juts Liek

    Hey, chill folks. Let’s just make America Mexican again.

  • Max BB

    I only saw the last part of the interview and the congressman said that property liens or anything else concerning expats was a last resort. He just said that Mexico had to protect itself against Trump but hoped it wouldn’t be necessary. All wild speculation at this point.

  • Loren Lowe

    I’m so sick of false and biased articles.

  • Brian

    Funny … I live down in Nicaragua. Most who care are curious. They are not angry at all.

  • Rob hawkins

    Your post are inflamatory and totally off mark! From now on
    I will look to see who wrote the post before even reviewing it! Yours are totally out!
    I think myabe we need to tax the Mexican citizens then, as well as all THEIR porperty…that would pay for the wall in a week!

  • jaun sanchez

    Buying Real Estate in Mexico is risky, always has been.

    • Frank Skidmore

      President Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do !! THE CARTELS RUN MEXICO. The Mexican president needs to grow some balls and take care of his country’s PROBLEMS.You won’t see another Democrat President in our life time.These liberal fools in the streets are wasting their time !!! The American People’s Prayers have been answered ! AMERICA WILL BE GREAT AGAIN !

      • lorenzo

        “In our lifetime”? You must be in your tercera edad. Of course, God wants America to be great again. That’s why she took the time out to answer your prayer, pobrecito. Thank goodness the USA has a three divisions of govt. so that the judicial branch can stop your president’s craziness. Sorry Rob. I can’t help it.

  • rob Annis

    Can’t people speak civil to each other with opposed opinions?

  • Lorne Goldman

    That is a well known hoax letter. It’s authorship has been traced to the US. 🙁

  • StillWatching

    “The end of intolerance marks the end of liberty.” No, Julius, perhaps the end of tolerance marks the end of liberty, but we’d all like to be rid of intolerance, yours included.

  • Michael

    I’d suggest everyone calm down. The allegations reported are suppositions based upon opinion without facts. Who, what, where and when, are typically the guidelines needed for objective reporting. Don’t devour each other because of this yellow journalism.

  • Foundstar

    Another example of the Fat lump and his BS EO’s made without a modicum of strategy, long and short term results and counter measures. This buffoon is an idiot without peers..Even Bush had more sense..Wow…