Trump Closing The Border Could Cause An Avocado Shortage & That's Not The Worst Of It

by Lani Seelinger
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In its latest unprecedented move related to immigration, the Trump administration is threatening to close the border with Mexico in an effort to free up personnel to patrol the areas where there is no wall. While such a move is unlikely to halt immigration — legal or illegal — there are lots of surprising and problematic things that will happen if Trump closes the border.

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney explained the administration's rationale for potentially closing the border on ABC's This Week.

Why are we talking about closing the border?” Mulvaney told ABC. “Not to try and undo what’s happening, but simply to say, ‘look we need the people from the ports of entry to go out and patrol in the desert where we don’t have a wall.’”

What Mulvaney's explanation leaves out, however, is the fact that, it's not just people who cross the border between the United States and Mexico. As The Washington Post explained, it's a major point along the global trade routes, so closing the border would cause huge issues not only for companies involved in global trade, but also consumers who rely on their products. Many policy matters don't make an actual impact in your day to day life, but if Trump closes the border with Mexico, you might actually notice it.


There Would Be An Avocado Shortage

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If you like readily available avocado toast, then you don't like the idea of closing the Mexican border. To be specific, the United States would run out of avocados — and therefore guacamole, avocado toast, and any smoothie involving avocado — within three weeks if the border closes, according to Reuters.

“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now. California is just starting and they have a very small crop, but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so,” Steve Barnard, the president and CEO of top global avocado grower and distributor Mission Produce, told Reuters.


... Along With Numerous Other Fruits & Veggies

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It's not just the country's avocado lovers who would suffer. Mexico supplies numerous fruits and veggies to American consumers, as The Hill wrote, and a border closure could hurt deliveries of all of them. If the border closes, expect to see prices for tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries, and raspberries rise significantly, because Mexico is the biggest importer of all of them, according to NBC News.


Actually, There'd Be Problems With Fresh Food Across The Board

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Though Republicans (falsely) claimed that Democrats were trying to take away hamburgers in their criticism of the Green New Deal, a border closure could accomplish that far more quickly. Fresh food across the board — like beef — depends on open borders so that distributors can keep up their deliveries, which are timed very carefully. Delays caused by a closed border could cause any perishable food to go bad and clog up the border crossing, according to The Washington Post.


America's Auto Industry Would Suffer

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American car companies already suffered through the early stages of Trump's trade war with China, as CNBC wrote in August 2018, and this potential border closure would essentially be more of the same. As The Washington Post wrote, any disruption on a global trade route causes supply issues for companies — like automakers — that rely on products coming in from other countries. In this case, American automakers would have to scramble to get the supplies they need, and replacements with the same price are by no means guaranteed.


People Who Cross The Border Regularly Would Be Stuck

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Everyday, thousands of people cross the border between the United States and Mexico simply as part of their commute. There are Mexican students who go to American schools, for example, U.S. citizens who live in Mexico but work in the States, or simply people who live in one country and often visit family in the other. If Trump closes the border, he would immediately be throwing these peoples' lives into turmoil.


Lawsuits Would Pour In

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If the border closes, a wave of lawsuits is likely to follow, according to The Washington Post. The companies that lose profit — in some cases even potentially having to lay off workers, according to the Post — would have grounds to sue the administration for violating their rights as companies to operate freely. Because of this, it's unlikely that a border closure would be able to last very long.


Immigration Would Not Decrease

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Trump and Mulvaney's justification for closing the border is, of course, the idea of stopping immigration between Central America and the United States, as The New York Times wrote. With official crossing points closed, the argument goes, border patrol officers can pay more attention to the unmanned sections of the border. What this strategy ignores, however, is that the uptick in immigration has happened almost entirely at official ports of entry, as The Guardian wrote. Furthermore, undocumented migrants would not be deterred by the presence of more guards between ports of entry, as their aim is generally to turn themselves in and request asylum, as Vox explained.

Basically, this move wouldn't make it any more difficult for an undocumented immigrant to cross into the United States. It would, however, throw up numerous obstacles for U.S. citizens who depend on an open border for aspects of their lives big and small, be it an education, a livelihood, or a tasty treat at brunch.