OPINIONS How much would it cost to close US-Mexico border?

OPINIONS

How much would it cost to close US-Mexico border?

CGTN

02:39, April 04, 2019

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(Photo: CGTN)

On March 30, US President Trump threatened to close the US border with Mexico within a week if Mexico doesn't "immediately" step up its efforts to block immigrants attempting to enter the US illegally.

President Trump later tweeted the same comment, claiming that “Mexico must stop illegals from entering the US through their country and our Southern Border,” and if Mexico failed to do so, he “will be closing the border, or large sections of the Border, next week.”

“I don't think it's likely that Mexico comes up with anything tangible that actually satisfies or solves any of the problems that we allegedly have on the border. What we might see is that they make some public pledge that calms President Trump's ego”, commented Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer, Founder of Grasshopper Strategies.

The US president has also instructed the State Department to cut off all direct assistance to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala – where many of the migrants come from. All this comes as news of yet another caravan – with more than 20,000 people – is reportedly forming in Honduras. Mexico's Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero also told local media an estimated 900,000 migrants would make their way through Mexico towards the US border by the end of 2019.

Zhao Hai, Research Fellow at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “Trump is making a political stand…he is now more emboldened than ever, and particularly now it's already in the early stage of the 2020 presidential campaign.”

“I think it's particularly important for him at this point to show his toughness against this problem,” Zhao added.

In his tweets, President Trump said, “The Democrats have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World.” But is the US immigration law really weak?

“President Trump is wrong. By comparison with almost any other developed nation in the world, the United States is one of the strictest immigration regimes in the world,” Blackburn-Dwyer reacted strongly to this question.

“He sees anything that allows anybody in his mind from a country that he doesn't like or doesn't respect as awful. This is a president with a wife who is an immigrant telling us that we have weak immigration laws because our laws require years of processing years of courts, years of hearings and investigations to vet people before allowing them to stay permanently in the United States,” he said.

Adding on this point, Zhao mentioned the fundamental problem is the relationship between the United States and Central American countries. In the past century, Central American regions have gone through many political and economic upsetting and all those miseries have prompted people to move northward into the US.

“Central American states need to go deeper to address those problems domestically in order to prevent people from moving out of the country,” Zhao said.

$1.7 billion worth of goods cross the border every day

On Tuesday, President Trump admitted that closing the southern border with Mexico could have a negative impact on the United States economy. “But security is most important,” he said.

“I'm ready to close it if I have to close it,” President Trump said to reporters on Tuesday in his Oval Office.

Mexico is the United States' third-largest trading partner after Canada and China. The US and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. The US border with Mexico is the most frequently crossed border in the world, with approximately 350 million legal crossings each year. The closure would severely disrupt border crossings, threatening trade worth billions of dollars.

“If we were really seeing a situation where the US is going to close a border that $1.7 billion go across every single day, Wall Street would be in a panic. So if we get closer to Thursday or Friday and Wall Street starts to teeter, that's when you might really think this may actually happen”, Blackburn-Dwyer said.

Blackburn-Dwyer also mentioned a previous case where there was a five hour slow down and shutdown at one border crossing on Thanksgiving of last year, which reportedly have led to $5.3 million loss of local sales.

“If we were to shut down the 47 legal points of entry on the US southern border, we would exacerbate a food crisis and would see American companies teetering shutting down,” he said.

Is the US immigration law weak?

In his tweets, President Trump said, “The Democrats have given us the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the World.” But is the US immigration law really weak?

“President Trump is wrong. By comparison with almost any other developed nation in the world, the United States is one of the strictest immigration regimes in the world,” Blackburn-Dwyer reacted strongly to this question.

“He sees anything that allows anybody in his mind from a country that he doesn't like or doesn't respect as awful. This is a president with a wife who is an immigrant telling us that we have weak immigration laws because our laws require years of processing years of courts, years of hearings and investigations to vet people before allowing them to stay permanently in the United States,” he said.

Adding on this point, Zhao mentioned the fundamental problem is the relationship between the United States and Central American countries. In the past century, Central American regions have gone through many political and economic upsetting and all those miseries have prompted people to move northward into the US.

“Central American states need to go deeper to address those problems domestically in order to prevent people from moving out of the country,” Zhao said.



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