Mexico Pres. Selling His Air Force 1 To Fund Trump Deal on Immigration


Donald Trump just keeps winning on the Mexico issue, and his latest “deal” shows that his negotiation skills may not be as crazy as critics would like you to think.

Already this week, we covered how the president appears to have made major headway in negotiations with Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador to deal with the immigration crisis.

AMLO, as he’s called south of the border, agreed to step up enforcement of caravans bringing Central American migrants to our border in huge numbers.

Now there’s another win for Trump, or so it definitely seems.

In a move that signals the turning of a page on Mexico-U.S. cooperation, Obrador announced that he’s planning to sell his version of Air Force One to cover the cost of the immigration deal.

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It’s not quite “Mexico will pay for the wall,” but it’s far closer than Trump’s opponents will ever admit.

“Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to fund a crackdown on migrants to Mexico from Central America with proceeds from the sale of his office’s aircraft, a 787 Dreamliner,” The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

Ever since taking office in December, Obrador had pledged to get rid of the expensive jet along with many other governmental aircraft.

But at the time, he indicated that the proceeds would go toward the general funding of Mexico, not a Trump-negotiated immigration deal.

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“Funds from the sale would be put toward the deployment of the newly formed national guard which has the power to detain migrants without correct papers,” the U.K. newspaper explained.

AMLO has made a habit of flying on commercial airliners even after he won his nation’s election, and mingling with ordinary passengers has bolstered his “man of the people” image.

It doesn’t hurt that his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, was widely seen as corrupt and ostentatious.

Indeed, a recent exposé by the Mexican newspaper El Universal exposed wild spending on expensive alcohol aboard the presidential aircraft during the last administration, adding to the perception of the plane being an icon of largess in a country plagued by poverty.

“About how much this plan is going to cost, let me say, we have the budget,” Obrador confirmed at a Wednesday news conference.

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“It would come out of what we’re going to receive from the sale of the luxurious presidential plane.”

The deal was agreed upon Friday, and includes the deployment of some 6,000 Mexican troops along the Hispanic country’s border with Guatemala.

That location has seen a major influx of immigrants, many without any legal papers or even passports, flowing north in an effort to flood into the U.S.

If AMLO had not agreed to the deal, Mexico would have a blanket tariff of 5 percent on imported goods, a potentially costly situation.

The Mexican president called the agreement “a good deal for our country,” showing that both nations could advance their interests at the same time.

Any way you slice it, this is a win for Trump — and hopefully for the people of Mexico as well.

The illegal influx of Central American immigrants impacts both nations, and showed no signs of slowing down unless our southern neighbor started taking action.

Mexico and the United States — and their respective presidents — are often portrayed as opponents, but that doesn’t need to be the case.

As conservatives have been saying for years, the issue is not with lawful immigrants, but with those who abuse the system.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the border and immigration issues, but the Mexican president’s willingness to work with Trump instead of spite him shows a promising path forward.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.