UPDATED 1:04 PM PT — Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The Trump administration is considering keeping truck lanes open to alleviate economic setback if President Trump shuts down the southern border.
During an interview Wednesday, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration is reviewing strategies to ensure trade is not interrupted. The trade representative said he has advised President Trump about the issue, but also said the president’s threat shows how serious he is about border security.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen suggested the administration is considering military resources to help with the crisis. She made the comment ahead of her trip to El Paso Wednesday.
Meanwhile, President Trump doubled down on his threat to close the U.S. -Mexico border in a recent tweet. He warned that if no action was taken, large sections or maybe the entire southern border would be closed.
Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border! If no action, Border, or large sections of Border, will close. This is a National Emergency!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2019
While the president hasn’t followed through on his threat, drivers at the southern border are already feeling the impact of the Trump administration’s efforts to handle the surge of Central American migrants entering the U.S.
“It’s been several days that the threats the President of the United States is making have been coming true, and it’s affecting third parties,” said truck driver Jose Cota. “In this case the manufacturing industry, transportation companies, and directly — and most strongly — on the operators, the drivers.”
This comes after hundreds of agents, who screen cargo at the border, were reassigned to immigration duties. Senior Homeland Security officials said the move was to blame for the slowing of legal crossings at ports of entry.
On Tuesday, Mexico’s foreign minister — Marcelo Ebrard — acknowledged the slow down was becoming a problem, but said a complete shutdown of the border is not expected.
“If we are not able to restore this very soon, this is going to economically cost both countries, because we are talking about one of the borders that has the most flow between countries,” stated Ebrard.
Meanwhile, the head of Homeland Security compared the situation at the border to a “Category 5 hurricane” disaster. Kirstjen Nielsen made the comment during an emergency conference call with cabinet members Tuesday night. She reportedly added that 900,000 people are coming to the U.S. this year “without any legal right to stay.”