WASHINGTON — A Trump presidency would be disastrous for Mexico, but it’s a “tough call” on whether a Clinton presidency would be a boon for Mexico and Latin America,
according to a former secretary of foreign affairs for Mexico.

New York University Professor Jorge Castañeda said Wednesday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s goal of increasing deportation is not far-fetched.

“If Obama was able to deport 2 million people and said he didn’t want to, why couldn’t Trump deport 4 million immigrants if he wants to? Maybe he can’t deport all 12 million,but he can certainly deport twice as many as Obama.” Castañeda said.

Trump’s promise to build a wall sealing off the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and having Mexico pay for it, is quite feasible, Casteñeda said. He said Trump could have Mexicans pay for the wall through higher visa fees, increased bridge tolls and taxes on money sent by immigrants to their families in Mexico. The border wall now is 580 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Mexican government needs to prepare its people for a Trump presidency, Castañeda said, and should have started preparing a year ago when Trump became a Republican candidate.

“The president and Senate need to have a national conversation to educate the people, the national civil society, and the businessmen about what a Trump victory means for Mexico,” he said. “Are we going to fight this, and where and how are we going to fight it?”

But Castañeda did not offer unconditional approval for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s Latin American positions. He approved of her goal to reach an immigration agreement with Republicans in her first 100 days in office, but was skeptical of her proposal to suspend all but criminal deportations. When criminals are sent back to Latin America, the ensuing violence forces many refugees to flee their home countries.

Furthermore, Castañeda said he “gets the feeling” that Clinton does not like the Latin American region, possibly because of her role in the 2009 Honduran coup as secretary of state, or her switch to opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.