MEXICO CITY— The Mexican government is scrambling to adjust its strategy from carefully confronting candidate Trump to defending itself against President-elect Trump.
It's not an easy task. There's not much Mexico can do at this point to dissuade the Trump administration from following through on its campaign promises to build a wall, impose trade tariffs, renegotiate NAFTA and deport undocumented immigrants.
But Mexico can prepare its consulates for an expected surge in requests for services and help from Mexicans living in the U.S., and urge its expat community to "stay calm."
“Paisano, these are uncertain times, stay calm, don’t fall for provocations and don’t let yourself be deceived,” Foreign Affairs Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu says in a new video message launched by the Mexican government on social media under the hashtag #EstamosContigo (We’re with you). “In these moments, the most important thing is to be united.”
The call for unity is accompanied by Mexico's somewhat ambiguous 11-point plan to shield Mexican immigrants living in the United States:
- The creation of a toll-free phone hotline (185 54 63 63 95) so Mexicans in the U.S. can contact their government in Mexico for assistance, information and consular protection.
- The activation of a direct 24-hour phone line in the U.S. for consular assistance.
- Encouraging people to download and make use of the app for Mexican U.S. consulates.
- Increasing the number of mobile consulates to assist a greater number of people with protection and documentation.
- Increasing the number of consulate appointments so more Mexicans can request documents such as passports and birth certificates.
- Promote the registration and issuance of birth certificates for children of Mexican nationals born in the U.S.
- Extend the work hours of protection departments at the consulates.
- Strengthen financial and banking assistance.
- Strengthen dialogue with local and state authorities.
- Improve ties with civil rights organizations.
- Call on the entire Mexican community to avoid conflict and any actions that could result in penal or administrative sanctions.
So far the Mexican government’s plan seems to exist only on paper. And many Mexicans want the government to launch a more aggressive approach in the form of economic retaliation and even threatening to revise security cooperation.
But for now the Peña Nieto administration seems hopeful it will be able to negotiate with Trump and that the next president will be be more reasonable than he was as a candidate.