As the world struggles with growing international migrant crisis, President of the most powerful nation is adamant with his threat to build a wall between itself and a weaker neighbour.
- Trump has warned in an amplified version of his repeated threat that he might close the border as soon as next week, if illegal immigration is not stopped by Mexico.
- The comments came after Mexican President Andres Obrador said that they were doing all they could as per law to ensure orderly migration to US through the country
- The newest threat is based on concerns about a large migrant caravan of hundreds of people travelling for months from Central America
- The US President said the shutdown could be on the entire southern border and might apply on trade too, which amounts to over $1.7 Billion every day
President Donald Trump has yet again threatened Mexico with border shutdown if it doesn’t put an end to illegal immigration.
US President Donald Trump told reporters in Florida that he might shut down large portions or the entire border not just for people but trade as well | Credit: Reuters
In an escalated rhetoric, Trumps said he might ‘close large sections’ or the ‘entire’ border, as soon as ‘next week’. He added that the shutdown could be ‘not just for people but trade too’ and would be ‘for a long time.’
….through their country and our Southern Border. Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs. If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2019
The president had stressed when questioned by reporters in Florida:
“I am not kidding around. It could mean all trade. We will close it for a long time.”
Trump has time and again claimed that he wants to shut down the US-Mexico border during his two years of his tenure.
What started as a campaign promise of building a ‘long, impenetrable wall’ along the border to stop illegal immigration, has continued to be a core issue, even though Congress has been reluctant to fund the President’s grand plans.
Border crossing points of entry from Mexico into the US | Credit: Reuters | Source: Department of Homeland Security
These latest comments from the American President are
unsettling, because such a move could possibly obstruct not just millions of legal immigrants but trade worth billions.
193 million immigrants crossed into US via Mexico in 2018
As per the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. ports of entry recorded approximately 193 million inbound ‘pedestrians and vehicle-passengers’ entering US from the Mexico in 2018.
Most of these migrants are from the Northern triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. These people have been forced to leave their homelands for a better life due to rapid economic slowdowns and internal violence in their countries.
The increased rhetoric from Trump comes in the wake of recent claims by Mexico President said his country was doing its part to fight migrant smuggling. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said:
“We want to have a good relationship with the government of the United States. We are going to continue helping so that the migratory flow, those who pass through our country, do so according to the law, in an orderly way.”
Mexico doesn’t stop immigrants; they just take our money and talk – Trump
Trump has reiterated multiple times that he believes that stopping immigrants passing through their country would be “so easy” for Mexican authorities.
In March 2019, The US-Mexican border has seen 100,000 border apprehensions, the highest monthly number in years.
It has been reported that, criminal nexuses in Mexico move migrants in large groups toward remote sections of the border into the US. To keep a check on such activities the Department of Customs is reassigning 750 border inspectors deal with the growing migrant families.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had suggested that the US might close designated ports of entry to re-deploy staff to help process parents and children, instead of a widespread shutdown. She said:
“If we have to close ports to take care of all of the numbers who are coming, we will do that. So it’s on the table, but what we’re doing is a very structured process based on operational needs.”
If a possible widespread border closing would also apply to air travel, was not confirmed by The White House.
Cost of Shutdown: The neighbours did trade worth $612 billion in 2018
To Trump’s threats, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary Marcelo Ebrard, had tweeted that his country “doesn’t act based on threats” and is “the best neighbour” the US could have.
Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trade partner. As per the U.S. Census Bureau, a border shutdown would heavily impact the economies of both the countries who do a business of over $1.7 Billion.
Mexico and the US have deep agricultural dependency on each other. Mexico is the biggest supplier of agrarian products to the US, with just vegetables and avocados import making up a trade of more than $8 billion in 2018.
US itself exports over $19 billion worth of agricultural products like corn to its second-largest agricultural export market, as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Closure of large portions of the border might heavily disrupt the cross-border communities of border states like Texas, as well as supermarkets, factories that rely on Mexican imported parts, and similar businesses across the US.
The US Chamber of Commerce said closing the border would be “an unmitigated economic debacle” that would put “5 million American jobs” under the knife.
Could Trump really build a wall
As the President of the US, it falls under the scope of Trump’s power to shut specific ports of entry to the country. However, Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama regime had said that President Trump could be open to a legal challenge if he decided to close all of them immediately.
Central American migrants surrender to U.S. Border Patrol Agent south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Texas in March 2019 | Credits: Lucy Nicholson/ Reuters
Trump claims of a “crisis” at the Mexican border. Trump has called for immediate amendment to the US immigration laws. He has also blamed the Democrats for a ‘weak’ law. Democrats have argued the veracity of Trump’s claim
Hundreds of immigrants cross the border illegally and then request asylum. Under the US law, asylum seekers are
not required to enter at an official crossing.
Trump is setting a dangerous precedent for World Affairs
The world is today dealing with an International migrant crisis. The European migrant crisis from Middle East and Africa, Syrian refugee crisis, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar fleeing to Bangladesh and India, and thousands of Dominicans stateless in the Caribbean have put strains on countries taking in refugees.
A border patrol agent apprehends a woman and a man after they were caught illegally crossing into the US from Mexico in May 2018 | Credit: Adrees Latif/ Reuters
The reluctance in taking in asylum seekers has given rise to a fierce breed of nationalism in many nations. Strongman leaders similar to Trump have popped up in such nations, promoting an apathetic approach towards asylum seekers. Only a few countries in the world today have laws favourable to asylum seekers.
There are over 68 million forcibly displaced migrants seeking asylum as of June 2018. That represents 1 in every 113 people, a stunning proportion of the world population.
The increasingly hardliner stand from President Trump is
not a good sign for world politics, where US arguably leads the way in forming the model of legislation on global issues for a number of countries.
- The US southern border has seen a surge in migrants with over 193 million border crossings in 2018 and over 100,000 apprehensions in March 2019
- The US Chamber of Commerce said closing the border would be an unmitigated economic debacle that would put 5 million American jobs at risk
- It is under Trump’s authority to close some ports of entry but a complete closure of the border would be up for legal challenge, as per former US Immigration Chief Counsel
- President Trump’s continued rhetoric sets a dangerous precedent amidst a global migrant crisis with more than 68 million forcibly displaced migrants seeking asylum as of 2018