Forty-six-year-old Humberto Mugnai is worried about the US elections – not necessarily for himself, though inflation, he says, will certainly affect his purchasing power. But Humberto teaches social sciences at a high school in Mexico City, and he’s worried that if Donald Trump is elected, it will become much harder for his pupils to study in the United States.
“In the school where I teach, many of the kids go to study in the US or will try to. It’s very important how immigration policy is going to impact them,” Mugnai told Al Jazeera.
And while Donald Trump famously said that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best”, Humberto’s students suggest otherwise.
“I’ve got guys who went on to MIT. One of them went to Harvard. The Chicago Art Institute. It’s not easy.”
Compared with getting accepted to the world’s most prestigious universities, getting a US student visa, for now, is easy.
But if Donald Trump wins the election and makes significant changes to the United States’ immigration policy, Mugnai says his pupils worry they may have to go elsewhere.
“They’re really worried,” he says. “Maybe they will go to Europe, or stay here in Mexico.”
Humberto is pulling for a Clinton victory and is supporting her the only way he can: by subscribing to her campaign’s email list. “They asked me to send some money but I can’t do that. I didn’t open an account,” he says, “but I open the emails so that’s good.”
Rodrigo Higuera has a long history in tech for a 26-year-old. A computer science major, he is best known as a cofounder of Mexico City’s first ride hailing app, Yaxi, which he sold last year. Four years after he founded Yaxi, Rodrigo is sitting in a shared workspace in Mexico City’s Condesa neighbourhood anxiously waiting for his newest company, Luv.It, to be approved by Apple’s App Store.
He is also contemplating the US election’s impact on his business. Luv.It is a combination social network and e-commerce site. The company’s technology team is based in Mexico but his business partner and business development team are in San Francisco.
With the peso inversely tracking Donald Trump’s popularity (Trump’s poll numbers rise, the peso falls), salaries for the Mexican portion of the company have become more affordable. But Rodrigo isn’t hoping for a Trump victory.
When asked who he prefers, he echoes a common complaint. “It’s the better of two evils, but Hillary of course.” That’s because he is most worried about the effect stricter immigration policies will have on the tech industry.
“The majority of tech start-ups in the US are really rich culturally and have a lot of people from other countries,” says Rodrigo. “The way of thinking of people that do not live in the same country as you really enriches the product or the service that you’re building.”