MEXICO CITY — The rise of Donald Trump and the anti-immigrant wave he is riding in his presidential primary campaign have alarmed the Mexican government so much that it has reshuffled top diplomats and, according to officials, adopted a new strategy — to defend the image of Mexicans abroad.
Trump has consistently targeted the United States' southern neighbor, calling Mexican border-crossers "rapists" and criminals and threatening to cut off the money they send home to their families unless Mexico pays for a border wall. But for months, the Mexican government has opted to remain quiet, with a few high-profile exceptions, rather than publicly challenging Trump's claims.
Under mounting domestic pressure, Mexican officials now say they have chosen a new strategy: to stand up for Mexicans and defend the reputation of their countrymen living in the United States.
"In recent months, we have seen a growing anti-immigrant discourse in general, anti-Mexican in particular, and not exclusively from Donald Trump," said a Mexican official who was not authorized to speak publicly on this issue. "This set off our fear that it would damage the image of Mexico in the United States."