The Mexican Peso may have passed the point of no return today, closing at over 24 pesos per US Dollar.  The coronavirus panic has caused the dollar to lose value, but many smaller countries around the world hold dollars in reserve to stabilize their own currencies--which are now plummeting faster than the dollar.  Mexico is #1 in the world in this unenviable decline, followed by the Brazilian Real and the Czech Crown.  Today all US embassies in Mexico stopped taking visa applications, including for H2A (farm worker) and H2B (which Trump announced on March 5th would be increased in number to 35,000 beyond the fixed cap, the highest number in history).  US farmers are panicking that they will lack the labor to harvest certain crops, and Mexico is panicking at the loss of the labor-export opportunity.  Embassies are continuing to take visa applications in Guatemala and Honduras, nations that have elected conservative presidents and recently become solid economic and security partners. 

I reached out to the White House today and my Iowa elected representatives who are all very attentive to the needs of US agriculture, especially as US food reserves are at a historic low.  I reminded them that the brunt of these migrant workers come from Mexico (from whence I currently write) and that our economies are interdependent. The Peso/USD exchange rate has, in two weeks, rocketed--the peso in that time losing 1/3 of its value (even against the dollar which has itself lost value). 

There are farms across this nation (USA) with dormitories built for immigrant laborers.  They are spartan by American standards, with bunks stacked tightly and communal kitchens.  American laborers do not compete for these positions in the present economy.  If a sudden change for the worse should occur, if cities become unlivable--those same bunks would be the salvation of our nation just as the camps of the Civilian Conservation Corps were in a tough era long past.  I would like to remind America that even as grocery store shelves are increasingly empty, there is still raw grain in the elevators of our small towns.  At today's price of $3.50 per bushel, a pickup truck could be filled with a ton of corn for $125.00.  Farmers everyday drive onto the scales and fill trucks, then drive to the homestead and shovel it out for their hogs.  That grain is hybridized and it is not organic, but in a famine it will be good as gold.  A man should look around at his children and unprepared neighbors, and consider taking a drive to the country for some American corn, soy, wheat, oats, or rice while the getting is still good.  That is not what Americans consider to be food, but such food saved Egypt by Joseph's wisdom in the terrible drought of Genesis. People even sold their ancestral lands, then themselves into slavery for a bit of that bare grain--and a hungry American may find himself similarly competing for a fruit-picker's bunk in the country, were he to exhaust his own stores! 

A wise old cowboy once told me before we rode horseback into dangerous canyon trails, "If that horse starts sliding, you step off uphill and let the horse go!"  That advice shocked me at the time, but we were venturing into steep country where a fall meant certain death.  Tough cow-punchers and sturdy immigrants are used to taking their life in their hands, but I had been in the city and needed to be warned that we were playing for keeps!

As I type this night, the state congress is meeting (extraordinarily) at night.  Today the newspapers published that (ostensibly) due to coronavirus fears, the legislature would meet in closed session with no public observers and no press! Juarez Avenue is packed with police vehicles of multiple jurisditions which appear to have ferried in the legislators securely for emergency session!  I made known my concerns today to the US authorities, but the fact is now clear:  THE DECISION HAS BEEN MADE AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL THAT THE MEXICAN ECONOMY CANNOT BE PULLED OUT OF ITS NOSEDIVE.  The faithful burro that has met America's labor needs for so long is being let go--to slide into the ABYSS!