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Trump’s comments reflect his ignorance of Mexico, trade and immigration

Glenn Hamer

Glenn Hamer

TEL AVIV – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proud to have played host earlier this year to events featuring three of the leading Republican presidential contenders: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. I expect we will welcome additional candidates from both parties in the fall.

Donald Trump will never make the cut.

His recent comments on Mexico are not only despicable, but they reflect an individual who, despite his billions, is astonishingly ignorant about Mexico, trade and immigration.

The United States is fortunate to have peaceful friends and allies in Canada and Mexico as its neighbors. As a border state, Arizona counts Mexico as our closest international partner. Mexican tourists alone spend $7.3 million a day in Arizona. Arizona and Mexico trade roughly $20 billion per year and 40 percent of Arizona’s exports go to Mexico.

Our bonds with Mexico are more than just economic. We have family ties that span the border, student exchanges, and shared cultural connections. For example, on the recent trade mission to Mexico City led by Gov. Doug Ducey, the University of Arizona announced it is partnering with UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, a premier research institution with more than 345,000 students, to collaborate on research.

Mexico is a modern economy that is on its way to becoming the 5th largest in the world by the middle of this century. As our delegation learned on the trade mission from Dr. Juan Pardinas, president of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, North America is the greatest current and future economic region of the world. We have great wealth and vibrant, liberal democratic institutions guided by the rule of law.

I write this from Israel, a vigorous democracy in a sea of countries and terrorist organizations that are the exact antithesis. Headlines here include stories of ISIS firing rockets into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula. It’s never a dull moment. During my trip here last summer, some of Israel’s neighbors — Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt — fired rockets into the country. That is just a bit of context as to why I feel so blessed to share a border with our friends in Mexico back home.

As for immigration, I will admit I am biased. My wife emigrated from Israel. I will also admit that our system is not perfect. The president and Congress must work to create an improved legal framework and a system that provides secure borders. However, I believe one of the greatest comparative advantages we have over the rest of the globe is that the U.S. attracts the best, brightest and hardest workers from around the world.

What Trump is doing will not earn him his party’s nomination. Unfortunately, his rambling, pompous hyperbole could keep him high enough in the polls to get to the debate stage.

Last cycle, the GOP got a mere 25 percent of the Latino vote. I believe the party’s field is rich with quality candidates who will dramatically raise that percentage in 2016. Donald Trump is not one of them.

— Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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