The Trump administration is not backing down on the threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border as soon as this week.
“Massive caravans, walking right through Mexico. So Mexico is tough. They can stop them, but they chose not to. Now, are they going to stop them? And if they don’t stop them, we are closing the border. They’ll close it and we’ll keep it close for a long time.”
President Trump made the statement on Friday, following a warning from United States Customs and Border Protection commissioner.
“CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso,” said Kevin Mcaleenan, the CBP commissioner.
Fil-Am Debbie Alarilla has lived in El Paso most of her life. She said there’s certainly an influx of migrants in her town in the past few months — and it has been putting stress not only on border patrols, but on social and health services.
CBP commissioner Mcaleenan said on March 25th alone, it apprehended 1,000 migrants in El Paso.
Just within three days last week, they had over 15,000 migrants in custody nationwide. More than 100 thousand apprehensions just in march, the highest monthly total in a decade.
But closing the border would create a devastating economic impact.
Cherry Somosot has lived in the Rio Grande Valley area for almost 30 years. During our visit there a few months ago, she brought us to Phar, Texas. Recent border restrictions alone, she said, created an immediate financial trauma in the area.
“The local businesses are also being affected. Nag close yung mga shops dito… So nag coclose na. Maraming businesses ang nag close.”
Rep. Tj Cox, meanwhile, said that closing the U.S.-Mexico border would directly impact the ranchers and farmers in the state’s central valley. His district he said, is the number one dairy producing district in the country and half of California’s dairy exports are destined for Mexico.
Besides the economic impact, closing the U.S.-Mexico border poses a threat to immigration policies. Rutgers Yniversity professor Rose Cuison Villazor said finding solutions to illegal immigration warrants more than just targeted quick fixes, and should involve everyone.
“We have shared interests and I think some Filipinos forget those shared interests and I would like for us to have more in depth conversation about what the Filipino community can do to be more supportive of these immigrants who need our help and also to address our own undocumented immigrant population.”
Meanwhile, President Trump is reportedly considering bringing on a border or immigration czar to coordinate his administration’s immigration agenda.