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Immigration Law

Expert: Closing Border Would Be "Shooting Ourselves in the Foot"

John Fritze, USA Today, Apr. 3, 2019

"In the chaotic hours after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, U.S. officials took an extraordinary step that would be considered only a handful of times in the decades that followed: They sealed the U.S.-Mexico border.

As a newly sworn in President Lyndon Johnson departed Dallas for Washington, thousands of Americans and Mexicans were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at border crossings near El Paso, according to news reports at the time. Hours later, U.S. citizens were permitted to cross from Juarez back into Texas.

The decades-old episode underscores the immense logistical and legal challenges President Donald Trump would face if he follows through on a threat to "close the border" with Mexico, experts said. The move could disrupt more than $1.5 billion in goods and hundreds of thousands of people who cross the border legally every day. 

"We'd be shooting ourselves in the foot by closing the border," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell University law professor who specializes in immigration. "It’s like stopping funding for cancer research on the theory that we'll get fewer cancers." "