White House officials warned Sunday that President Donald Trump's threat to close the Mexico–United States border this week "isn’t a bluff."
On Monday morning, a top avocado distributor told Reuters that the potential shutdown could spark a massive avocado shortage across the U.S.
The President & CEO Steve Barnard of Mission Produce, a global avocado distributor, told Reuters that Americans would face a severe shortage of avocados within one month upon the border shutdown, adding that, "We would be out of business for a while."
"You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100% of the avocados in the U.S. right now," Barnard told Reuters.
"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."
Last Friday, Trump said: "Mexico is going to have to do something, otherwise I'm closing the border. I'll just close the border. With the deficit like we have with Mexico and have had for many years, closing the border will be a profit-making operation."
President Trump: "Mexico is going to have to do something, otherwise I'm closing the border. I'll just close the border. With the deficit like we have with Mexico and have had for many years, closing the border will be a profit-making operation." pic.twitter.com/fQLhQgZNto— The Hill (@thehill) March 31, 2019
President Trump has also identified the border as a national emergency over illegal border crossings.
Recently, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan warned that the immigration system was about to break.
A border shutdown would also trigger food and alcohol prices to soar, according to Reuters.
Monica Ganley, principal at Quarterra, a consultancy specializing in Mexican agricultural trade issues, told the news organization that consumers are "absolutely going to see higher prices. This is a very real and very relevant concern for American consumers."
Ganley said that tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries, and raspberries are crops that could be affected as well.
Nearly 40% of all U.S. imported fruit derives from Mexico, according to data from the USDA.
If closing the border affects various forms of transportation, including trucking and rail, Mexican imports of U.S. energy products could drop, according to Reuters.
What we see here is President Trump's America first policies at play. With tariffs not having their intended effect of shrinking the deficit. Trump is now using the immigration crisis to potentially shut down the entire border - so that trade would virtually come to a halt - thus shrink the deficit to appease his base for 2020.
However, there is a significant problem, as Reuters pointed out, closing the border would essentially cause a food shortage across the U.S. and spike prices, probably not the best thing to have as the economy falters.