As President TrumpDonald John TrumpMigrants cleared from enclosure beneath El Paso bridge after outcry North Korea calls for probe into ‘terror attack’ on embassy in Spain Buttigieg: ‘I have enormous respect’ for Hillary Clinton MORE continues his threat to close down the U.S.-Mexico border over illegal immigration, experts are warning of possible consequences to consumers in the U.S.
Citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data, Reuters reported Monday that about half of imported vegetables and 40 percent of imported fruit in the U.S. are grown in Mexico and shipped across the border.
The head of Mission Produce, the world’s top avocado distributor, told Reuters that Americans would run out of avocados in just three weeks if a border closure blocked produce imports, adding that, “We would be out of business for a while.”
“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now,” Steve Barnard told Reuters. “California is just starting and they have a very small crop, but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so.”
Trump has said multiple times that he may close the border over what he has deemed a national emergency in illegal border crossings. Last week, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said that the immigration system has reached a “breaking point.”
“Mexico is going to have to do something; otherwise, I’m closing the border,” Trump said Friday. “I’ll just close the border.”
In addition to an avocado shortage, a closing of the border could cause U.S. consumers to see a spike in prices on other produce and alcohol, according to Reuters.
Monica Ganley, principal of Latin American agricultural and trade consultancy Quarterra, told the outlet that consumers are “absolutely going to see higher prices” in the event of a border closure.
“This is a very real and very relevant concern for American consumers,” she said.
Ganley told Reuters that tomatoes, cucumbers and berries are crops that could all be affected.
If closing the border also affected rail terminals, Mexican imports of U.S. refined fuels could also drop, according to Reuters.