In October of 2018, President Trump had threatened to close the southern border if Mexico did not halt the caravan that was headed towards the United States. Later, on November 26, 2018, he once again made a similar threat to close the border. He tweeted:
“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”
Currently, the government is partially shut down because of non-agreement between President Trump and the Congress on budget matters forcing some 800,000 federal employees to work without pay or go on unpaid leave, the main reason being Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall. Democrats have refused to give this money because they consider spending on the wall to be a waste and ineffective.
The latest development is that President Trump has said he will declare a national emergency so that he will be able to get money to fund the wall. He said until the Democrats agreed to the funding the partial government shutdown would not end, and he is also willing to let it continue “for months or even years.”
What will happen if the border is closed permanently?
President Trump had tweeted, “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!"
Considering this is a political issue and not a threat to national security, President Trump might not be able to put this into action.
However, it is not clear what he means by closing the border entirely. If looked at technically, the border is already closed to people who are not authorized to enter without valid documentation. Closing the border entirely will prevent U.S. citizens from entering the country through the U.S.-Mexico border and the president cannot legally do this. It could also prevent foreigners with visas from entering and lead to legal issues. Tourism will be affected as well.
If the president still went ahead and closed the border, hundreds of thousands of people who cross the border everyday, either in vehicles or on foot, will be left stranded.
Director of the Mexico Center at Rice University, Tony Payan told CNN, "There goes the President again, threatening to shut the border. We have to take it seriously, of course, in the border states. The disruption to Texas would be enormous. I don't think the President understands the dynamism of the busiest border in the world."
Mexico is the third biggest trading partner for the U.S. and closing the border will have a tremendous impact on the economy. The border states especially will be highly affected as Mexico is their main trading partner. Jobs, foreign investment and trade will all take a hit and this will affect the U.S. economy severely.
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