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The threat of a Trump to close the border to unleash panic among the businessmen of San Diego and Tijuana

The last time I stopped for a few hours the traffic at the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana was the September 11, 2001. It took a terrorist attack,

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The threat of a Trump to close the border to unleash panic among the businessmen of San Diego and Tijuana

The last time I stopped for a few hours the traffic at the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana was the September 11, 2001. It took a terrorist attack, massive, the closure of all the airspace of the united States, and the sealing of the borders that the decision was taken to interrupt the flow of vehicles and people between California and Mexico. Had not happened again until last Sunday, when the Government of Donald Trump closed the border crossing for five hours because some of the hundreds of immigrants desarrapados tried to reach up to the fence asking for refuge in the country. The exaggeration of the US sparked a panic. But not in immigrants, who are still there, but in the entire economy of the border.

it Came to pass also in the worst day possible. The weekend of thanksgiving is when he starts the season strong shopping on the u.s. side of the border, the city of San Ysidro. The gigantic Outlet of the Americas, a shopping area, close to the border fence, he had to close and their tents were evicted in the midst of the avalanche of security forces who rushed to the border, and the tear gas launched against immigrants.

“It's just the weekend that begins the christmas shopping,” laments Jason Wells, president of the Chamber of Commerce of San Ysidro. “I have 650 stores and that day they closed the 75%. 93% of our customers are from Mexico”. A third of the entire turnover of the year in this shopping area is between the 20 of November and the 6th of January. Wells estimated that only that day the merchants of San Ysidro lost us $ 5.3 million by the Government's decision to Trump to close a few hours the border with Tijuana.

A group of immigrants trying to reach the fence of the U.S., in Tijuana, on the 25th of November. GUILLERMO ARIAS AFP

The closing resonated in all of southern California. The news of Los Angeles showed images of immigrants running towards the fence with headlines like: “Chaos on the border”. The damage of image is severe, warns Wells. Because in addition, the 5,000 immigrants from the caravan of central american are still there, and could be more soon. The feeling that it can go to move is to paralyse the movement daily at the border. About 70,000 vehicles and 20,000 pedestrians cross each day towards the north by the step of Tijuana, considered to be the land border to the world's busiest. For years, the two cities are pressuring their respective Governments for that transfer to be as quick and smooth as possible.

“sometimes, in the morning, after dropping children off at school my wife and I we went to Tijuana to have breakfast,” says Sunil Gakhresa, an indian immigrant who runs Sunny Scents, a store of wholesale perfumes in San Ysidro, right at the side of the fence. “Since we do not do so. If something happens, who picks up the children from school?”. Thousands of small decisions like these are doing to lose the business dramatically in the area, says this entrepreneur. On that day, did the 30% of the business he hoped to do. Sunny Perfumes has a store Marsbahis “filled to bursting” of genre for Christmas now don't know if you are going to sell.

“Look how he is in the street, look what a few people in the store. I had a business during the recession, I know that times are loose. But this is extraordinary. I hope to get it fixed. If this voltage is still 10 more days, no more Christmas for us,” says Gakhresa. Every minute that that border is closed, someone does not arrive at work, a child not going to school, an order is not delivered. “In five hours of closing since we were shitting. Can you imagine five days?”, question Sunil Gakhresa. Ensures that the drop in business is noticeable from the caravan migrante in Tijuana. “I don't want to put in policy, but Mexico knew they were coming and I knew that there is no place in Tijuana to house them. Now you have presented the argument to Trump, who can say: do you See? I said.”

Sunil Gakhresa, in front of his store Sunny Perfumes, in San Ysidro. P. X. S.

Around the world in the border agree that the situation requires calm and time to restore confidence and the flow recovers. The mayor of San Diego, republican Kevin Faulconer, tweeted the same day of the incident: “Our way of life depends on a secure border to work,” and called for cooperation of all parties. Faulconer is often said that San Diego and Tijuana are not two cities, but one region. The president of the united States released a tweet in which he did exactly the opposite of what you claimed this region. “We will close the border permanently if necessary,” he said.

“That comment shows that you do not understand anything”, says Paola Avila, businesswoman and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of San Diego. “That is not an option. It would be a disaster”. Avila believes that the solution, once immigrants are already in Tijuana, is to accelerate as much as possible the process of application for asylum, the exact opposite of what you are doing Trump. “Instead of having 5,000 us military to the border, you should send officials to process the applications. Are seeing 80 or 100 cases a day and so can take six months to see it all.” The possibility of eternice the situation of instability, and above all the image of chaos in Tijuana, is the main concern of the entrepreneurs.

Frank Carrillo is the president of SIMNSA, a comprehensive hospital in Tijuana to 300 meters of the border, which serves 2,000 patients a day, 80% of them americans. These days it is giving health services free of charge to the immigrants of the caravan. “Trump does not have the slightest idea what he is talking about” when he threatens to close the border, says Carrillo. “San Ysidro disappear.” Ensures that the slightest problem at the border affects the business. “The impact is immediate because the two sides we're married”.

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