BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Former Republican political strategist Matthew Dowd does not believe President Trump’s threat to shut down the entire southern border as realistic. 

In a tweet, Trump said: “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!”

Matthew Dowd

Texas-based Dowd was chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign. He is now chief political analyst for ABC News. Dowd said: 

“I don’t think it is a real threat. First of all, this would be a violation of many treaties. It would be a violation of the new NAFTA agreement he (Trump) signed and it would actually be a violation of the law of much of the United States dealing with legal immigration. 

“I do not think it is a realistic threat. It would not hurt Mexico as much as it would hurt the United States because of the economy that we share and how we benefit from that. I think the main part of this is it is a signal to his base saying, ‘I am standing tall, I am standing firm, I am going to do whatever it takes.’ But, it is not realistic he would shut the border down.”

According to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, Mexico is the United States’ third largest goods trading partner with $557.6 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2017. Goods exports totaled $243.3 billion; goods imports totaled $314.3 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico was $71.0 billion in 2017. 

Trade services with Mexico (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $58.4 billion in 2017. Services exports were $32.9 billion; services imports were $25.5 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with Mexico was $7.4 billion in 2017.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Mexico supported an estimated 1.2 million jobs in 2015, with 968,000 supported by goods experts and 201,000 supported by services exports.

Members of Congress from South Texas do not support a shutdown of the southern border.

In a tweet, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville said: “The shutdown is a crisis of the President’s own making. To suggest that the appropriate response to his own crisis is to shut down operations at our nations border and cut off humanitarian aid to Central America is grossly foolish.”

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen issued the following statement in response to Trump’s full shutdown threat:

“It is increasingly worrisome that the president is not kept accountable for his rhetoric – be it online or on any platform. No, Mr. President, you cannot shut down the Southwest Border as a bargaining chip for your useless border wall proposal. The American people need to understand that this action would have vast, terrible implications for American consumers and businesses.

“If I recall correctly, the biggest threats faced at the U.S.-Mexico Border this year have been the inhumane policies enacted by the Administration. We must be diplomatic and strategic in securing our borders. We must be diligent in protecting trade relations with our neighbors. And the president must exercise the decorum expected from the White House – even from his Twitter account.”

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo made this statement last week:

“Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House but they can’t get their act together to pass a budget to keep the government working for the people. They have the power to end this dysfunction.”

Cuellar has issued a Border Barrier Fact Sheet which provides a comprehensive overview of current border barriers. Click here to view the fact sheet.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows U.S. President Trump speaking to the media in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 17, 2018. (Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/EFE/REX/Shutterstock)