Americans in Mexico fear reactions to Trump’s policies

Mexico City: US President Donald Trump’s threats to modify economic and immigration policy toward Mexico have sparked fears among the US expatriates in the country, a media report said on Thursday.

The American community living in the western Mexican state of Jalisco fear confrontation, Efe news reported.

Terry Vidal, executive director of the US citizens’ society on the shore of Jalisco’s Lake Chapala, said he and his compatriots were concerned not only about Trump’s threats but about how the Mexican government would react.

“It scares us to see what’s happening because Mexico is not going to take that easily and they’re already planning some kind of reprisal to protect their own rights. And we don’t like that,” Vidal said.

The Lake Chapala Society chief, who has been living in Mexico for almost a decade and is married to a Mexican, said Americans don’t want a confrontation since it could lead to expressions of hatred against them.

“There’s a big possibility but we’re also hoping that everything’s going to be okay,” he said.

The towns along the shore of Lake Chapala have some of the largest US expatriate communities in Mexico. Most Americans are elderly and only want a nice, quiet place to retire.

According to the National Immigration Institute, 7,000 foreigners live in the area, most of them in Ajijic.

During the winter, up to 14,000 Americans and Canadians flee their chilly northern homes to take refuge in the little town on Mexico’s largest lake, where the climate is said to be like a paradise.

Mark Gulko left Florida with his wife and moved permanently to Ajijic several weeks ago despite the fact that Mexico’s relations with the US are uncertain given the new US political climate.

He said he does not share Trump’s characterisation of Mexican migrants to the US as “rapists” and “criminals,” saying his hosts are “marvellous people”.

He accepts the possibility that measures against immigrants the US President could take might spark a backlash.

“I hope that Mexicans … realise that not all of us Americans have the same point of view and think like Trump. We’re all different,” he said.