President Donald Trump is still willing to close the US-Mexico border. Trump suggested shutting down the border last week and he’s since doubled down on that rhetoric. However, experts warn that Americans will suffer if the administration takes this drastic step.
The US relies heavily on Mexico for fresh fruit and vegetables. If the border is closed, supermarket shelves could be empty in a very short time. States Trump won in 2016 would be particularly affected by food shortages, a price many voters may not be wiling to pay.
“We haven’t seen a time in the US when supermarket shelves are bare from fresh produce in a long time,” Lance Jungmeyer, President of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, told CNN.
“We have grown very accustomed to having all the food we want when we want to eat it and at a price that is reasonable,” Jungmeyer said.
Trump has claimed that closing the border will stop further undocumented migrants from entering the country. On the contrary, it could lead to a surge of migrants crossing into the US as fears of being denied entry mount. The emerging humanitarian and refugee crisis in Central American would be exacerbated by the move.
Closing the border would be an unprecedented step in peace time and a serious break with international norms. There also appears to be no exit plan for border closures. The Trump administration has not been clear about how long the border would remain closed or what conditions would have to be met for the border to re-open.
The effects on US-Mexico trade would be severe, going beyond food shortages in local stores. If the administration closes legal border crossings, the economic impact on both countries will be felt very quickly. It remains to be seen whether Trump supporters are willing to accept economic pain to fulfil Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.