President Trump backed off his threats to completely close the U.S. border with Mexico, but the reassignment of hundreds of border agents has already slowed business in border shops and threatens to reverberate to the rest of the country in the coming days and weeks.
The letter offers the example of the U.S. auto industry, which several economists have concluded would shut down in one week if the border were to close completely. Reuters reported some automakers and medical equipment manufacturers are considering air freight to avoid the miles-long lines at the border.
"Unfortunately, any disruption to the flow of commerce resulting from the full or partial closure of our border would have a cascading effect – harming U.S. consumers, threatening American jobs and investment, and curtailing the economic progress that the Administration has worked to reignite," said the letter.
More than 42% of rail freight is directly related to international trade, according to the letter, and slowing down the border movement also threatens the tens of thousands of rail and trucking jobs that rely on free cross-border movement of freight.