IN A RECENTPHONE interview with Latino Leaders, Arizona Sen. John McCain said it could be argued that the fastest-growing small businesses in the United States are owned by Hispanics.
McCain said there are more than 120,000 Hispanic-owned business in Arizona. Hispanic purchasing power in the state is in excess of $40 billion, he said, and women own more than 54 percent of Hispanic small businesses.
One of the vital components of all this success is trade with Mexico, he said.
"Mexico is Arizona's number one trade partner," he said. "Thirty percent of Arizona's exports. $16.8 billion in total trade with Mexico in 2015 "111,200 Arizona jobs depend on bilateral trade with Mexico," he added, "and 65,000 Mexican visitors come here every day to shop and spend."
In addition to trade, McCain said, there's the cultural relationship to consider.
"Everything from our cuisine to the celebration of Cinco de Mayo," he said. "Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English was. Our relationship with Mexico is important, not just economically, but in every other way."
As Mexico's economy has improved, McCain said, the number of people coming into the U.S. illegally has dropped to the point that "more people are going back to Mexico than are coming from Mexico into the United States."
McCain said he is glad that President Donald Trump's administration seems to have softened its recent rhetoric regarding a proposed 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a southern border wall.
"If it happened, you would see severe economic impact on Mexico, which could trigger more illegal immigration," he said. "It would also have a devastating effect on Arizona's economy. I was pleased to hear the president's press person say that it is just one of many options. But it is an option that should be rejected."
On many economic issues, McCain said he agrees with the administration.
"Reduction in taxes, but most important, reduction in regulations that have stifled our economy over the last eight years," he said. "This is the slowest recovery from a recession since the Great Depression and one of the reasons for that is the...