Vicente Fox: I Changed My Mind—I Will Pay for American Walls | Opinion

It’s been over two years since I strongly opposed the wall that Donald Trump is still intending to build between our two nations. I referred to it using the f-word, and it even became a slogan of resistance.

I still believe that Donald Trump represents the “ugly American”, the racist American, the hateful American. He’s managed to spread that sentiment all over the nation and the world, crossing borders.  That’s why we’re seeing new extremist governments in the world.

Nevertheless, I know there are still good people in America, people who know that America is built on diversity and freedom—and that a nation still exists that calls for “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

Since I know that the poor and the tired do not necessarily come from abroad, I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and have reached the conclusion that building walls isn’t such a bad idea. I’m not talking about walls that keep people out, I mean walls that bring people in, walls that create a home.

In the U.S. there are more than half a million people that remain homeless on any given night and in Mexico, there are as many as 60 million people that live in poverty and sleep on the streets, or in the slums. They share a common need: a home. These are the people I want to build walls for, as well as place a roof over their heads.

Both of our nations are going through rough patches: the U.S. is facing a brutal midterm election with a president constantly spreading hate and promoting division, and in Mexico we’re going through a storm that may change the way the world looks at my beloved country, as well.

I’m joining forces with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and my foundation in Mexico, Centro Fox, to create change and opportunity by spreading a powerful message of unity, love and hope, as well as raise funds for the people I mentioned above.

GettyImages-670335640 SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 19: Former president of Mexico Vicente Fox speaks at the Commonwealth Club of California on April 19, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You may wonder, why Centro Fox? Why LIHI? Well, LIHI is one of the most productive affordable housing developers in the Northwest of the U.S., providing warm, safe, secure shelter in tiny houses in community settings with case management that helps residents find permanent housing and employment.

Centro Fox is the place where global ideas converge in a local setting. We teach those around us to bring out the best of themselves, as well as providing them with services that improve their quality of life—such as restoring their lifestyle in the most vulnerable communities, helping people with disabilities and teaching—mainly children—to embrace and live up to their full potential, through leadership and compassion.

It’s a big goal: a cross-border effort to provide a new and better lifestyle to those in need. Even though our countries are moving through difficult times, it’s always the people who make it better, it’s always the people who care, and create change. I believe in those people, and I know for certain that we won’t just be building walls. We’re building a better life for them.

Vicente Fox was president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​

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