What would happen if President Donald Trump carries out his threat and close the border with Mexico to pressure the neighboring country to stop the flow of Central American immigrants? The consequences would be an economic and social chaos according to experts and politicians.
Last weekend, President Trump published a series of tweets criticizing both, the Democratic Party for not passing tough immigration laws and Mexico for allegedly not stopping immigrants passing through their country en route to the United States.
“This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and “talk.” Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!,” Trump wrote.
If Trump gives the order to close the border, the economic impact would be billions of dollars a day. Experts estimate that there is a daily trade of $ 1.5 billion along the border.
Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner and last year border trade totaled $612 billion. Nearly half of all vegetable products and 40% of all fruits imported into the U.S. come from Mexico, according to statistics from the Department of Agriculture.
In an interview with Reuters, Steve Barnard, president and CEO of Mission Produce, said if imports stop because of a border shutdown, stocks of avocados in the United States would be exhausted in three weeks.
“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now. California is just starting and they have a very small crop, but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so,” Barnard told Reuters.
The passage of merchandise across the border is already being affected by the decision of the U.S Customs and Border Protection (CPB) to transfer 750 customs officers to other surveillance functions, causing delays in the entry processes of commercial products at the border.
In a press release, the United Fresh Produce Association warned of the economic impact of this situation and the risk of shutting down the border.
“Because of the large reassignment of CBP officers, importers and exporters should expect to see ‘a slowdown in the processing of trade’ along the U.S.-Mexico border for an unspecified period. CBP will be forced to close some processing lanes, potentially in the ports of El Paso, Laredo, Tucson, and San Diego. In addition, officials at the port in Nogales, AZ, have announced closing commercial border traffic on Sundays,” said the United Fresh Produce Association.
The Association believes that the risk of a shutdown border would cause significant harm to producers, wholesale distributors, transportation companies, grocery stores, restaurants and, most importantly, consumers in the United States.
They urged President Trump to reconsider any action that could affect commercial transactions of fresh healthy produce as they would cause millions in economic losses while increase the cost to consumers across the country.
For the communities that live on both sides of the border, closing the ports of entry to the U.S. would be chaotic. According to statistics from the Department of Transportation, in 2018 more than 190 million people crossed the southern border, a daily average of 525,000 people.
Thousands of students cross daily from Mexico to the United States to attend classes, as well as tens of thousands of workers who cross the border every day to go to their jobs.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, reacted to President Trump’s tweets by assuring that Mexico does not respond to threats and said his country is a great neighbor of the United States.