Argentina's President Mauricio Macri goes Trumpista
Please tell me if this sounds familiar:
"We cannot continue to allow criminals to keep choosing Argentina as a place to commit offenses[.]"
The author is President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, and it is truly incredible.
Argentina is a nation of European immigrants, from the Spanish to Italians to Germans. You can see this melting pot on the jerseys of Team Argentina in the World Cup.
However, things are changing, and President Macri is reacting to the changes by cracking down on open borders.
His decree has rekindled criticism from the left of his ties to the American president, whom he calls a friend. In the 1980s, Mr. Macri worked with his father, an Italian immigrant and industrial magnate, on a real estate project in New York that the family ended up selling to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Macri's immigration measures, while not as far-reaching as Mr. Trump's decision to halt refugees from around the world and freeze visas from seven predominantly Muslim terrorist-sponsoring nations, are raising diplomatic tensions in the region. Some South American leaders are attacking what they view as an attempt to mimic Mr. Trump's immigration policies and nurture xenophobic sentiment.
"Brothers, Latin American presidents, we can't follow the immigration policies of the North," President Evo Morales of Bolivia said.
But the fact is, Argentina has been inundated with crime from illegal immigrants – drugs, kidnappings, prostitution, human trafficking, highway robberies, and bus hijackings, with several high-profile cases in recent years. Opinion polls in Argentina show widespread support for limiting immigration. Some say the new decree does not go far enough. One right-wing congressman is even calling for a wall to be built on the border with Bolivia.
A wall on the Argentina-Bolivia border? Don't bet on it. However, there is a new realism that uncontrolled immigration is chaotic, even in a country like Argentina, where just about everybody has immigrant grandparents.
Another issue probably driving the decree is a slower Latin American economy driving people from poorer countries to more developed nations that are embracing free markets like Argentina.