CEO Hamer: “A closure of the U.S.-Mexico border would be an economic catastrophe.”
PHOENIX (March 30, 2019)—Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer said the following about the evolving situation at the U.S.-Mexico border:
ON THE REASSIGNMENT OF RESOURCES AWAY FROM PORTS OF ENTRY
“The Department of Homeland Security has the difficult two-pronged mission of securing our border while also facilitating legitimate trade and cargo. Increased migrant flows make striking that balance a much more challenging task.
“I am deeply concerned, however, that the decision by Customs and Border Protection to divert CBP Officers away from the ports of entry in order to assist Border Patrol in processing migrants risks harming not just the Arizona economy, but the rest of the U.S. economy, due to increased shipping delays, and increased costs.
“The trade flows between Arizona and Sonora and the rest of Mexico are central to the state’s overall economic health. Data released earlier this month reveals that Arizona trade with Mexico in 2018 was over $16 billion, a 7.7 increase from the previous year. This administratively enacted slowdown puts that continued economic growth under threat.
“I would urge the administration to draw from resources in other areas of DHS to address this issue rather than to divert personnel from already understaffed ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
ON WHITE HOUSE THREATS TO CLOSE THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER
“A closure of the U.S.-Mexico border would be an economic catastrophe. U.S. exporters’ products would be cut off from a critical market. Prices here would spike almost immediately as domestic supplies dwindled due to imports being blocked from crossing the border. Mexico is the first or second-ranked trading partner of 27 states. The U.S. relationship with Mexico is responsible for nearly $2 billion in two-way trade per day.
“The president’s threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border only inject greater uncertainty into an already tenuous situation. And it would put an end to any chance for the administration to stay on course for its stated goal of 3%-plus growth.
“Mexico is our friend and neighbor. The U.S. should be able to draw on its long history of cooperation and friendship with Mexico to reach collaborative solutions to the challenges that face our shared border. Mexico’s administration has proposed ideas to help stabilize the affected Central American region that we should seriously consider.
“What is desperately needed is a broad, bipartisan compromise on immigration that reflects the need for increased security, as well as humanitarian assistance, a positive resolution to DACA and TPS, visa reforms, and more.”
[For more on Hamer’s views on the need for urgent immigration reform, read here.]
ON THE USMCA
“We are all-in on efforts to gain congressional passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Congress. We will work with business groups and leaders across America to secure its passage. As the just-released paper ‘The USMCA and its Impact on Arizona’ finds, USMCA is a welcomed upgrade over the current NAFTA.
“In fact, the paper reveals that over 200,000 Arizona jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada. That number is well positioned to grow if the USMCA is adopted. I urge our congressional delegation to share this message with the White House and remind the administration of the important task at hand.
“The healthier all of our economies are, the easier it is for us to work together to address these difficult issues.”
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For additional commentary from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the border situation and its connection to immigration reform and trade policy, please see “One Way to Tank Markets and the U.S. Economy? Close the Border with Mexico.”