TRUMP: "With a deficit like we have with Mexico and have had for many years, closing the border will be a profit-making operation."
(That is not at all how trade works!) pic.twitter.com/jnuJpQEMfU
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2019
Shutting down ports of entry would be an economic disaster. It would also disrupt the lives of border communities that rely on the flow of people between the US and Mexico — including the major cities of San Diego (and Tijuana) and El Paso (and Ciudad Juarez).
Even reductions in port capacity or temporary shutdowns tend to lead to panic among the business community and local residents. El Paso is currently concerned that already-long waits at the ports could get longer as agents are reassigned to care for unauthorized migrants. When the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego shut down for a few hours in November, as agents responded with force (including tear gas) to an organized march of asylum seekers, the temporary closure cost about $5.3 million in lost business revenue.
Of course, making it harder for people to cross legally generally only encourages people to cross illegally — something that’s already been seen as the US has limited the number of asylum-seekers it allows to present themselves at ports.
Trump’s Friday tweets actually tacitly acknowledge that drug smuggling is more likely to happen at ports than between them — something he generally explicitly lies about. But drug smugglers are less likely than, say, banana exporters to just throw up their hands if a port is shut down, rather than finding other illegal ways to get drugs into the US.
Every time Trump tweets something like this, border-state legislators and business associations react with alarm. Generally, DHS officials stress that they understand the importance of keeping the ports open. But Trump by all appearances does not. [Continue reading…]