Trump's border shutdown threat stirs fears of economic harm

PHOENIX (FOX 10/AP) -- President Donald Trump's threat to shut down the southern border raised fears Monday of dire economic consequences in the U.S. and an upheaval of daily life in a stretch of the country that relies on the international flow of not just goods and services but also students, families and workers.

Trump brought up the possibility of closing ports of entry along the southern border Friday and revisited it in tweets over the weekend because of a surge of Central Americans migrants who are seeking asylum. Trump administration officials have said the influx is straining the immigration system to the breaking point.

Politicians, business leaders and economists warned that such a move would block incoming shipments of fruits and vegetables, TVs, medical devices and other products and cut off people who commute to their jobs or school or come across to go shopping.

In the Valley, 85% of the produce in local grocery stores currently come from Mexico, anything from tomatoes, bell peppers, and Brussel sprouts, to name a few. Distributors say certain fruits and vegetables might not be available at all in arizona or may cost a lot more than what we're used to paying, if Trump shuts down the southern border.

"Right now, this time of year, a lot of the California growing areas aren't ready to harvest, so it'll be a tough deal," said Ted Palmisano, President of Peddler's Son Produce.

Palmisano is very concerned. His livelihood and jobs are on the line.

"I actually sent out a memo today to my sales staff and my buyers saying, 'hey, this is something we need to address'," said Palmisano. "Make sure we stay ahead of the curve. Making sure we have enough product in here, because we don't know what's going to happen."

Americans already in Mexico, as well as those who have plans to travel there in the coming days, should start making backup plans.

"The bigger concern is what if they get there to their vacation? Can they get back?" said Steve Schwab, President of Casago. "So we contacted the Border Patrol to ask them that question. They said if it's a complete shutdown, no one comes in or out because the border will just be closed."

It's also unknown if passenger flights coming from Mexico will be affected as well. Many are eager to hear more details from Trump, soon.

"If the President is going to make these kinds of threats, it would be great to be more specific about it, so we can tell American citizens what to expect," said Schwab.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.