President Trump has threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border as early as this week if Mexico does not do more to control migrants coming across into the U.S. without authorization. His threat describes two different situations, though. Trump wants to stop all individuals from crossing the border without authorization, but the only way he can realistically close the border is to close the ports of entry where individuals either cross with visas or other authorization or come to the port of entry to seek asylum, both of which are lawful entries.
If Trump were to close ports of entry to attempt to close the border, he would likely be forcing many more individuals to attempt to cross without authorization at places between ports of entry, and he would be limiting international commerce. It is estimated that $1.5 billion worth of commerce happens along the U.S.-Mexico border every single day. When the port of entry in San Diego, California shut down for a few hours in November, an estimated $5.3 million in business revenue was lost.
An official in the Trump administration told the press last week that it is possible agents currently working in ports of entry may be moved to take care of migrants coming through without authorization, and that if the trend continues the administration may have to close ports of entry as a last resort.
In addition to threatening to close the border entirely, the Trump administration continues to enact policy that attempts to limit or stop the flow of immigrants from Central America. Over the weekend the U.S. government announced it would cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, countries from which many asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border are fleeing. The Mexican president had been lobbying the U.S. government to join Mexico in sending increased aid to the region to help reduce violence and increase economic development, and the day before Trump made the announcement the U.S. had signed an agreement with the three Central American countries to help fight human trafficking and organized crime.
If the Trump administration is successfully in closing ports of entry, the conditions for those individuals detained following attempted unauthorized entries will continue to worsen. Closing the border, turning away asylum seekers, and cutting off aid to the three Central American countries won’t fix the problems in our immigration system, and it won’t stop migrants from doing all they can to make their way to U.S., to lives they believe will be safer, freer, and improved in nearly every way. The only real way to fix the problems affecting our immigration system is through legislation, and by creating a system that makes it easier to immigrate lawfully, not harder.
If you have questions about your immigration options, contact Joseph & Hall P.C. to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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