ARIZONA NEWS

Officials say border closure would hurt Arizona agriculture, tourism

Apr 3, 2019, 4:15 AM
(Getty Images Photo/Mario Tama)...
(Getty Images Photo/Mario Tama)
(Getty Images Photo/Mario Tama)

PHOENIX — Officials say Arizona’s economy would take a hit if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, especially in the areas of agriculture and tourism.

Facing a surge of Central American migrants trying to enter the U.S., Trump last week threatened to seal the border if Mexico did not immediately halt all illegal immigration into the U.S.

“Hopefully it doesn’t have to happen at all,” Julie Murphree, spokeswoman for the Arizona Farm Bureau, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“We know there’s some big challenges on the immigration side, also, but certainly there would be an economic impact.”

Felipe Garcia, executive vice president of Visit Tucson, agreed.

“It would have a huge impact in our economy and all of our border economies and the state of the Arizona,” he told KTAR News.

Murphree said Mexico purchases nearly $200 million of Arizona’s agricultural exports, including produce and beef.

But on the flip side, she said, Mexico helps provide Arizonans with out-of-season produce that consumers have become used to purchasing all year round.

“If you go to the border and you ever see what we import, it’s a lot of fruits and vegetables,” she said.

“And part of that’s a seasonal issue. We just wrapped up the winter harvest season in Yuma, so now we need to lean on California and certainly Mexico for certain of our fruits and vegetables.”

Garcia said about 23 million Mexico nationals visit Arizona each year, and then spend close to $1 billion in the Tucson metro area alone.

“So imagine the impact that it will have on the retail, on hotels, on restaurants, but on every single individual in the community, because when people from Mexico come to spend money here, they pay sales tax,” Garcia said.

“So they’re helping pay for our police, our fire, our libraries, our roads, so again, the impact goes to every single individual in our community.”

He said events like Easter and spring break travel help Arizona transition from high tourism in the winter to a summer slowdown, but a border closure would prevent that.

“We understand … there’s problems and challenges at the border, there’s been thousands of detentions, but by closing the border, you will not solve the situation, you will not solve the issue,” he said.

“You will make it even worse because not only are you going to be stopping certain individuals from crossing, but those that are coming legally into the U.S. and also many U.S. nationals that are going south of the border.”

While Trump on Tuesday did not back off the idea completely, he said he was pleased with steps Mexico had taken in recent days and renewed his calls for Congress to make changes he contends would solve the problem.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Peter Samore and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Frontier Airlines)...
KTAR.com

Frontier Airlines adding daily nonstop route between Phoenix, Chicago Midway

Frontier Airlines is set to add another daily nonstop route between Phoenix and Chicago in the coming months.
1 day ago
The Telegraph Fire consumed more than 180,000 acres southeast of Superior, Arizona, in June 2021. (...
Kevin Stone

Federal officials unveil 10-year strategy to mitigate wildfires in Arizona, other states

Federal officials on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year strategy to mitigate the growing threat of wildfires in Arizona and other susceptible states.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)...
Danny Shapiro

Battered by pandemic, FilmBar in downtown Phoenix closes after 11 years

FilmBar, a downtown Phoenix entertainment staple, has closed its doors after nearly 11 years, citing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 day ago
(Arizona Humane Society Screenshot)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Humane Society frees lost dog from cement wall, reunites him with Valley family

The Arizona Humane Society came to the rescue of a lost dog who got his head stuck through a cement wall and later reunited Buddy with his family.
1 day ago
(Navajo County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

FBI arrests Arizona man who allegedly had live grenade in his RV

Federal authorities last week arrested an eastern Arizona man accused of possessing a live grenade in his recreational vehicle.
1 day ago
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Department)...
KTAR.com

Police arrest Gilbert man in connection with woman found dead at his home

Police in Gilbert on Monday arrested a man they suspect of killing a young woman who lived with him
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Officials say border closure would hurt Arizona agriculture, tourism