If Donald Trump succeeds in imposing a 20% tariff on Mexican goods, it will be economically devastating to communities in the borderlands and across the country.
Trump’s first week in office has been marked by one reckless and short-sighted statement after another, and this is no exception. Not only has Trump confirmed that Mexico will not pay for the wall – every dime of this tariff will be shouldered by American consumers – but he has also just given our third largest trading partner in the world good reason to retaliate against U.S. exports. In my home state of Arizona, cross-border commerce brings $737 million into our economy every month. And overall, $2.3 billion in U.S. goods from around the country flow through our state and into Mexico every month. All of this is sure to be undermined by Trump’s selfish pursuit of a partisan campaign promise that was completely detached from reality from the beginning.
News of Trump’s opening salvo against Mexico – a nation that has been nothing but a loyal ally and neighbor to the American people – comes just one day before he is expected to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program protected rising young people from the threat of deportation that they never deserved. These kids had no say in how they arrived here; they have pledged allegiance to no flag but ours; and they’ve wanted nothing more than to continue to call the only nation they’ve ever known as home, home. My heart breaks at the thought that they will once again face the possibility deportation at any moment. The cruel, punitive and dangerous actions by a feckless Donald Trump jeopardize our economy and our community.
Trump is waging a war with human decency, and while Mexico and DACA recipients are the direct victims today, it is the American people who will be harmed most in the end. Trade alliances that drive our economy are being threatened and blatantly undermined. Young aspiring Americans whose talents could propel the United States in the global economy are being targeted for removal. And hardworking Americans will pay more for foreign goods, will likely sell fewer products abroad with a major trading partner, and will see our nation’s moral authority continue to whither under a leader who is clearly indifferent to anything that doesn’t benefit him directly.
Raúl Manuel Grijalva is a U.S. Representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Democratic Party.