As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues reiterating his plan to build a wall along the country’s border with Mexico, some U.S. publications have begun counting the potential cost of this plan.
According to a study by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, trade between the two countries has grown substantially in the past two decades, and today it stands at more than US$500 billion. An estimated 80% of this trade crosses at the U.S.-Mexico land border.
Trade with Mexico has created more than 6 million jobs in the United States, mostly in border states such as Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Texas. Moreover, nearly 1 million people cross the border daily, most of whom are tourists, workers, students, and business owners.
Dallas Morning News has recently conducted a poll to assess the possible damage Trump’s wall might cause. In the poll, residents on both sides have described a sense of community and dependency between sister cities across the border. In Mexico, 69% of those polled said they depend on their neighbors across the border for economic survival. In the U.S., the number was 79%.
The U.S.-Mexico border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, and one in four jobs along the border region are believed to be the creation of the cross-border trade. That is largely because, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force, many multinationals have set up their regional headquarters in U.S. towns bordering Mexico.
According to the Voice of America, Mexicans with visas come across to shop or work and then return across the border later. It is also true that thousands of unemployed Mexican youths make regular journeys across the border looking for jobs.
“Mexican citizens come to the Tucson area and spend about a billion dollars a year in our stores and our hotels, buying all kinds of services and products here,” Voice of America has reported, quoting Mike Varney, President and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce, as saying.
Evidently, many industries on the U.S. side of the border are dependent on US-Mexico cross-border relations, so Trump’s plan to build wall might be easier said than done.