“Not being able to migrate to the U.S. could create a “pressure cooker effect” in Mexico that could exacerbate existing political discontent and heighten recent protests,” says Miguel Tinker Salas, Pomona College professor of history and Latin American studies, who is an expert in Mexican political and social issues.
According to Tinker Salas, Mexico is the current epicenter of social, political and economic unrest in Latin America, and should be observed closely.
“In an unprecedented move, thousands of Mexicans have been protesting in the streets over the hike in gas prices known as the ‘Gasolinazo,’ making it one of the most important protest movements in recent history,” says Tinker Salas. “I’m surprised that U.S. mainstream media is not covering this issue more.”
“The ongoing protests, occurring over the last two weeks, involve all social and economic sectors, and their national scale underscore the challenges the Mexican government faces,” adds Tinker Salas.
Tinker Salas frequently travels to Mexico and has seen the economic and political unrest firsthand. “The level of discontent is such, that protesters have shut down the US Mexico border on several occasions,” he says.
But how does this affect the U.S. and the Trump presidential administration?
“The anti-immigrant stance and the increase in border security will definitely make undocumented immigration a lot more difficult,” says Tinker Salas.
“What could happen, and what has happened so far, is the increase of nationalism and some anti-U.S. sentiments. In a recent incident in the northern city of Mexicali, protestors burned U.S. flags to demonstrate their frustration. President Peña Nieto tepid response to threats by President-Elect Trump to renegotiate NAFTA, increase deportations and expand a border wall could further fuel nationalism,” he says.
“For decades, migrating to the U.S. served as an escape for economic distress, but without that alternative conditions in Mexico could worsen,” says Tinker Salas.