Mexico braces for Trump presidency

NOGALES, AZ – Manuel Pelayo, 25, crosses the border from Mexico to Arizona at least twice a week to buy groceries and other household items for his wife and three children. But following the U.S. presidential election he said he may shop on the U.S. side less often.

“He (Trump) has been a little racist in his comments about Mexicans and Hispanics, so you kind of hold yourself back from coming here because people might look down on you,” said Pelayo in Spanish.

Pelayo works the graveyard shift at a maquiladora, or U.S. manufacturing plant in Mexico. He and some co-workers watched on television as the U.S. election results showed Trump was ahead.

“He was the last person I expected to win,” Pelayo. “I don’t think it is wise to build a wall and I don’t agree with him.”

Many in Mexico are bracing for a Trump presidency after listening to campaign promises to build a big “beautiful wall” on the border and deport all undocumented immigrants.

“He’s going to start throwing everybody out. Regardless of whether they’re actually working or doing bad things or good things, it don’t really matter,” said Jessica Arredondo, a U.S. citizen visiting relatives in Nogales, Mexico.

Arredondo fears unauthorized immigrants she knows living in the U.S. could be affected if the president-elect follows through with his plan of mass deportations.

Others worry a Trump presidency will hurt them economically. The weak peso tumbled even lower against the dollar as election returns showed Trump won. Mexico’s currency lost as much as 12 percent of its value in the days following the election and reached a historic low against the dollar this week.

Olga Ruiz, 74, like many residents in Nogales, Mexico, does most of her shopping on the U.S. side of the border. She says many items are cheaper but these days that’s not the case. “The peso must go up again because the Mexican economy is at stake,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz has family members on both sides of the border. She said her son, a nurse and a legal U.S. resident, called her in Mexico the day after the the election and asked how she felt about Trump becoming president.

“I told him we have to have faith above all. We have to have faith in him and that he will do things right,” Ruiz said.