Trump threatening to close the border may not be new, but many students still don’t know the implications of a border shut-down.
Mexico and the United States are a part of the United States-Mexico-Canada- Agreement. This agreement has been signed but is not officially valid, and is basically a new NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). This deal is meant to protect intellectual property and harmonize regulatory systems and e-commerce.
For over 20 years, Mexico and the United States have lived by each other and done business together. U.S. firms have established maquiladoras, which are U.S. business-owned factories that manufacture in Mexico because of free tariff rates. We get many of our avocados from Mexico and employ Mexicans because of low labor costs.
According to International Business professor Randal Schober, “The implications of a new threat is very polarizing. It rarely has a positive effect on the economy. Trump uses a fear-based tactic to maneuver his way through the current political environment.”
Trump’s threats also bring implications to communities at Point Loma. Jack Shin, a Ministry with Mexico leader, shakes his head at the mere idea of a threat. “As a team, we usually think, ‘Oh! There he goes again!’…but it really does affect our trips. Many people ask if it’s safe to go. On our last trip, we were stuck at the border for seven hours coming back into the U.S. Offering encouragement, I would urge others to ask about what’s going on. Get information from somewhere or someone that actually knows.”
For others at Loma, Trump’s threats hit closer to home. Zabdiel “Zab” Dominguez is what is known as an “anchor baby”: one who is born in the U.S. with two Mexican parents.
“It’s not uncommon for people who live in border towns to have an anchor baby. I crossed the border all the time when I was younger,” Dominguez says. “I’ve thought about crossing more recently, but if I’m stopped, it might not be worth the time. Some people have been stopped for anywhere between seven to 24 hours…who’s to say it won’t be more?”
Dominguez goes on to say, “For a lot of President Trump’s candidacy, I have felt threatened for just being Latino. I’m proud to be Mexican, but fear goes through my mind, and a lot of people have never had that thought.”
The implications of the threat of a shut-down largely affect the economy, but also the ministry of someone and the family life of another. Professor Schober, who was born in Australia, understands the need for immigration reform.
“Reform is needed,” says Schober. “But Trump is polarizing people. It’s important to understand the origin of the threat, then to assess the nature of the threat, and then calculate the percentage of it actually happening and multiplying it by the magnitude of the loss. It shouldn’t be one group versus another; the common group is found when the world comes to peace despite differences.”