Most Mexicans Would Welcome a Merger With the US

PHOTO: In a recent survey conducted in Mexico, 60 percent of respondents agreed that a merger between Mexico and the U.S. would be a good idea, as long as it improves quality of life.

If the U.S. and Mexico formed a single country, what would you call it? We already have a town called Calexico on California's border with Mexico, and Mexicali, on the other side of the fence. So how about the United States of Amexico? Or something shorter like Unimex?

It sounds like a silly question. But based on a very serious recent survey of Mexicans' attitudes to the world, it might be worth answering.

The CIDE, a Mexico City university that focuses on social sciences, asked people in that nation whether they would favor merging with the US to form a single country, if the move would improve their quality of life. Sixty percent of respondents said they agreed with the proposition, while only 26 percent "strongly disagreed."

CIDE said this question helps gauge nationalistic attitudes among Mexico's population. Researchers also asked people if they would join Central American countries to improve their quality of life, with 56 percent saying that it was cool to merge southward, as well.

"The inclination to cede [national] sovereignty in favor of convenience seems to be indifferent to the characteristics of the counterpart," CIDE concludes in its detailed report, called Mexico and the World.

"It's clear that economic wellbeing stands out as one of the major aspirations of Mexicans, more important even than sovereignty," the report says.

The survey asked Mexicans dozens of questions about current affairs and their country's role in the world, probing how they felt about issues like globalization and trade with other nations.

One especially interesting set of questions related to what Mexico should do to better integrate with other Latin American countries.

When asked what the government should do to improve relations in the region, 75 percent of respondents agreed that allowing the "free flow of goods and services" [ie. free trade deals] was important. However, only 45 percent of respondents thought that allowing the "free movement of people" across borders was a good idea.

Sound similar to attitudes in the United States? That might be because Mexicans are also wary about immigrants entering their country.

As you can see above, 49 percent of respondents in this survey agreed that immigrants "take jobs away from Mexicans," while 41 percent agreed with the phrase "immigrants generate insecurity."

On the other hand, 74 percent of respondents agreed that foreigners "contribute to the Mexican economy," and 70 percent agreed with the statement that foreigners "bring innovative ideas."

Like Americans, Mexicans seem to have conflicting views about immigrants.

Check out the full survey results here.

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