As what has become a beloved U.S. holiday Cinco de Mayo approaches, restaurant and bar owners across the country are likely breathing a sigh of relief as President Trump on Thursday walked back his threats to partially or fully close the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We're going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don't stop or (are) largely stopped, we're going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular, the cars ... and if that doesn't stop the drugs, we close the border," Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump’s recent threats had many on Main Street worrying about a potential shortage of guacamole and tequila, not to mention lettuce and tomatoes for our tacos. Mexico is our main supplier of avocados this time of year. According to Reuters, the U.S. would be completely out of avocados in three weeks if imports from Mexico were stopped.
Oh, sure there were concerns about shutting down car factories and possible shortages of blueberries. There is also the possibility that shutting down trade with our third-largest trading partner, that traded over $612 billion in goods with us last year, might drive us into recession. But the issue of border security never hit so many Americans harder than when we started to talk about cutting into their guacamole and tequila supply.
Not drinking a margarita on Cinco de Mayo almost seems un-American. And I have not even yet brought up the potential shortages of Coronas and limes. Most limes are grown in Mexico in the warmer southwest and southeastern states of the country. Key limes amount to about 54 percent of the total lime production, think about the potential devastating impact on key lime pie.
Mexico also would sharply feel the impact of a border shutdown as they look to the U.S. for energy, hogs and corn for their tortillas. Around $1.5 billion of goods pass through the U.S.-Mexico border every day.
While Trump acknowledges that any shutdown would have economic risks, he has made clear he believes securing the border would be worth it. According to USA Today, in February U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 60,000 people illegally crossing the southern border. A record high 36,174 of those (54 percent) were members of families and 6,825 (10 percent) were unaccompanied minors, according to USBP data. This flood of migrants coming to the border is overwhelming border agents and checkpoints and at the same time putting the lives of those coming here illegally at serious risk.
And of course, there is the risk to Cinco de Mayo celebrations as well. Embracing a holiday of another country and making it our own says more about America and what we are all about. In fact, one of the things that makes America great is that diversity. America is a nation of immigrants and has embraced every culture and religion on the face of the earth.
Border security is not racist or anti-immigrant. It is in fact what is best for all Americans, no matter where they came from. America has always been a beacon of light for immigrants legally coming to this country from all over the world. To celebrate that diversity, make sure you tip a Corona or two on this Cinco De Mayo.
Phil Flynn is senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.