Texas Would Pay The Biggest Price If Trump Shuts Down The Border

Mexico is Texas’s largest export market. Businesses statewide send billions of dollars in goods to the country each year.

The Laredo port of entry alone accounts for 58% of statewide cross border trade ($204 billion).

President Trump has said he may shut down the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out Central American migrants.

On national television Sunday, White House senior staffers reiterated the president's threat to close down ports of entry at the border.


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According to experts, the plan would devastate commerce with one of the United State's most important trading partners.

"Millions of trucks would be stopped at the border full of merchandise, produce, other agricultural goods, manufactured goods," said Director of Rice University's Mexico Center Tony Payan, in an interview with Houston Matters.

Payan said Trump's plan to close the border will create more problems without solving the migrant crisis.

"Shutting down the border is a little bit like cutting your nose to spite your face. It's not going to solve the Central American problem and it's going to create enormous economic problems at the border, which will, of course, affect large sectors of the American economy, but especially Texas," he said.

Mexico accounted for 37% of Texas's exports worldwide in 2017, worth $98 billion to the state economy, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data.

Trade with Mexico supports more than 382,000 jobs statewide.

Texas-Mexico trade by industry. Source: Mexico's Ministry of the Economy, Trade
and NAFTA Office in Washington, DC with data
from (2017), 4‐digit NAICS code.

Mexico is also the Houston area’s most important foreign market, accounting for $15 billion in goods exports in 2016.

Trade between the state of Texas and Mexico reaches an estimated $180 billion each year.

Listen to Tony Payan’s full conversation with Houston Matters in the audio below:


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Elizabeth Trovall

Elizabeth Trovall

Immigration Reporter

Elizabeth Trovall is an immigration reporter for Houston Public Media. She joined the News 88.7 team after several years abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she reported on business, energy, politics and culture. Trovall's work has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, Latino...

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