Meanwhile, along the US-Mexico border, as the Trump regime grows its deportation force those who give aid to the undocumented on both sides of the border aren't chancing a border crossing and those who are already here are too scared to come out and take help any longer.
In the 35 years Gilda and Juan Francisco Loureiro have been running a shelter in northern Mexico for undocumented immigrants, they’ve never seen a week like this one.
The shelter, called Albergue San Juan Bosco, is perched on a steep hillside looking over the busy border town of Nogales, Mexico. Its walls are painted bright turquoise and tangerine, and its wide-open double doors look west over low hills and Highway 15. Since they opened it, upward of 1 million people have slept there on their way to the U.S. But on the day I visited, it was almost empty.
It didn’t used to be this way, Gilda and Juan Francisco, known as Paco, explained. In the decades since they opened the space to give migrants a place to shower and sleep before crossing the border, the shelter—with separate rooms full of bunkbeds for men and women—would regularly house 100 migrants per night. Sometimes, that number would hit 300 or more, and Gilda and Paco would pull out thin mattresses to fit everyone on the floor.
But today, those mattresses are neatly stacked in a closet, untouched. And the shelter is almost empty—no women travelers, and fewer than a dozen men. That’s despite the fact that April, with its mild weather, should be the busiest time of year for migrants. The place is all but dead. Gilda and Paco have never seen anything like it.
They can only think of one explanation: President Donald Trump.
Trump hasn’t yet made good on his bombastic campaign trail promises. The wall is still just a twinkle in his eye, and the deportation force hiring sprees haven’t happened yet. ICE agents have conducted raids targeting undocumented immigrants, but they aren’t actually that different in scale from raids that happened during the early years of the Obama administration.
But the symbolism of Trump in the Oval Office and the threat of extended detention has already deterred many migrants. Migrants are scared, explained Jose, a young Honduran man staying at the San Bosco shelter in hopes of getting to the U.S. They might be less scared in the future, he said, but for now they’re waiting.
The Trump administration seems to have figured this out. In a speech on the Arizona side of the border the day before, Attorney General Jeff Sessions noted that the number of people caught illegally crossing the border had dropped by 72 percent from December 2016 to March 2017.
“This is no accident,” Sessions told an audience of reporters and Customs and Border Protections officials.
The Trump regime's climate of constant fear is working to depress new immigrants, but it's also working to depress US tourism from across the globe, even our neighbors are looking elsewhere for vacations and visits.
Demand for flights to the United States has fallen in nearly every country since January, according to Hopper, a travel-booking app that analyzes more than 10 billion daily airfare price quotes to derive its data. Searches for U.S. flights from China and Iraq have dropped 40 percent since Trump’s inauguration, while demand in Ireland and New Zealand is down about 35 percent. (One exception: Russia, where searches for flights to the United States have surged 60 percent since January.)
The result could be an estimated 4.3 million fewer people coming to the United States this year, resulting in $7.4 billion in lost revenue, according to Tourism Economics, a Philadelphia-based analytics firm. Next year, the fallout is expected to be even larger, with 6.3 million fewer tourists and $10.8 billion in losses. Miami is expected to be hit hardest, followed by San Francisco and New York, the firm said.
The administration’s travel ban deals a blow to an industry that has only recently recovered from a $600 billion loss following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“In the aftermath of 9/11, at first people didn’t feel safe coming here, and then they didn’t feel welcome,” said Jonathan Grella, an executive vice president at the U.S. Travel Association. “Our industry still refers to that as ‘the lost decade.’ There is a very real risk that that could happen again.”
Fear is the only tool Trump knows how to use, and it's going to cost our economy thousands of jobs, millions of tourists and billions of dollars. But you elected him toe "Make America Great Again" folks.
And now we all pay the price for your ignorance.