Retailers warn border closure would be ‘self-inflicted wound to the American economy’

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation today sent a letter to Trump administration officials expressing concerns over ongoing threats to close the United States-Mexico border and outlining how a closure would hurt U.S. retailers, workers and consumers.

“We share the administration’s goal of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system and enhancing border security,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “However, there is no way to close the U.S-Mexico border without inflicting serious damage to the American economy.”

U.S. trade with Mexico exceeds $1.7 billion each day. American retailers and consumers rely on Mexico as a source of fruits and vegetables, electronics, appliances, auto parts, apparel and more.

“Closing the border for any length of time would result in significant supply chain disruptions for U.S. retailers,” Shay said. “These disruptions would reverberate throughout the supply chain, impacting everyone from truckers to warehouse workers whose jobs depend on the two-way trade with Mexico. The end result would be job losses, factory shutdowns, increased consumer costs and reduced product availability across the country.”

Shay warned that retailers large and small in border communities would see a significant reduction in daily sales from a border shutdown.

“Thousands of people who rely on legal border crossings every day would no longer be able to get to work or shop in nearby stores,” Shay said. “For retailers in U.S. border communities, this would ultimately mean workforce disruptions and reduced sales. American small businesses in those communities would face a disproportionate burden, as many smaller stores depend on legitimate travel across borders for up to half of their daily sales.”

“We do not believe any type of border closure would address the ongoing immigration issues facing both Mexico and the U.S.,” Shay said. “Congress and the administration, as well as the U.S. and Mexico, must continue to work together to resolve this challenging issue. Resorting to a border closure would merely be a self-inflicted wound to the American economy.”

Read the letter here.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.