This is far from the first time Trump vowed to cordon off the whole of the U.S. from its third-largest trading partner; he made a similar threat this past October, promising to “call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” if Mexico didn’t “stop this onslaught” of migrants fleeing north.
Trump’s threat, it must be stressed, is the fantasy of a total lunatic. The sheer monetary impact of closing the U.S.-Mexico border would be so incredibly massive, it would likely throw both country’s economies into chaos. When Trump shut down traffic for a few hours at the San Ysidro Port of Entry between Tijuana and San Diego in November, the state said it lost more than an estimated $5 million dollars. Tijuana, meanwhile, lost nearly $7 million. And that was just one port for just one day. According to one study, there’s around a billion dollars worth of goods that crosses both ways on America’s southern border daily. Shutting the border down would result in the immediate loss of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of trade for the U.S., and a comparably disastrous effect in Mexico, for which America is its largest trading partner.
Of course, this is all somewhat beside the point. It’s the racism and the suffering that are important to Trump.
I have reached out to the White House to ask what, if any, plans are in place to close the U.S.-Mexico border, and if the president has a specific deadline in mind beyond simply “next week.” I will update this story if the White House responds.