Border closing threat panned; Business and political leaders condemn rhetoric - Brownsville Herald: Local News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Border closing threat panned; Business and political leaders condemn rhetoric

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 9:00 pm

Donald Trump first threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border in late December, in an attempt to force Democrats to agree to provide funding for a border wall.

Business groups and border political leaders condemned the idea. The Border Trade Alliance issued a statement “strongly rejecting” Trump’s call in December on economic grounds, noting that trade between the two countries had already exceeded $512 billion by that point last year, and arguing that the mere threat of closing the border inflicts damage on the regional economy.

The ploy failed and the border stayed open. Now the president has renewed the threat, this time in response to the northward flow of Central American migrants. Once again, BTA is condemning the suggestion, with Britton Clarke, the group’s president, noting that U.S.-Mexico trade equals nearly $2 billion per day and predicting that “closing the border is a recipe for economic calamity.”

BTA advocates for cross-border trade and is made up of representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Texas Border Alliance is weighing in as well. Pete Saenz, mayor of Laredo and TBC chairman, said in a statement April 1 that closing the border “would be catastrophic and immediate, not just for border communities but also for the nation as a whole.”

The jobs and wages sustained by cross-border commerce would be disrupted if Trump makes good on his threat, he said.

“Closing the border would cause an immediate depression in border state communities and, depending on the duration, a recession in the rest of the country,” Saenz said.

Likewise, the president's rhetoric is not being well received at the Port of Brownsville.

“Stopping trade at the Mexican border would have significant ramifications at the port and for our customers — and their customers— throughout the region,” said port Director and CEO Eduardo Campirano. “And it would have significant ripple effects logistically as ships, trains and trucks are put on hold. There would be immediate impacts on jobs and economic development efforts throughout the region, and long-term implications on the momentum and continued growth we are seeing in the area.”

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said the impact on businesses, jobs and ordinary people's lives if the border were to be closed is “literally incomprehensible.” The effect would be felt not just in the Rio Grande Valley but by farms, factories and consumers across Texas and the nation, he said. Closing ports-of-entry in the Valley and elsewhere along the border, meanwhile, would have zero impact on the humanitarian crisis at the border, Trevino said.

“The president may think that by making this demand he'll get what he wants, but that's just not how it works,” he said.

Trevino said such threats are nearly as reckless as actually following through on them, and that he's heard from many constituents worried about what's going to happen.

“If I go across to visit my family or to go work, am I going to get stuck over there?” he said.

Civilian and commercial vehicles crossing the border into the United States are also experiencing wait times much longer than normal because so many Customs and Border Protection agents have been pulled off port-of-entry duty in the Valley to help process migrants, Trevino said.

If agents are to be reassigned, he argued, they should be brought in from ports-of-entry elsewhere along the border where traffic isn't as heavy.

“It makes zero sense to create another problem by moving agents around and making it easier for criminal element to get items across the bridges,” Trevino said.

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

Follow us on Facebook

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>