Retailers warn closing southern border would spark 'serious damage'

The retail trade association that represents department stores, grocers and wholesalers warned that closing the southern border with Mexico would hurt U.S. retailers, consumers and workers.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) sent a letter to members of the Trump administration about how retailers rely on Mexico for fruits, vegetables, electronics, appliances, auto parts and apparel, among other things.

“We share the administration’s goal of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system and enhancing border security. However, there is no way to close the U.S-Mexico border without inflicting serious damage to the American economy,” NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter.

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The letter was addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy Trump hypes China trade deal as new doubts emerge Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe MORE, Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossDemocrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records Overnight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Commerce staff drafted statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump's hurricane predictions MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump says acting Homeland Security chief McAleenan will step down Activists to demonstrate at ICE headquarters after Cameroonian immigrant dies in custody Ex-Citizenship and Immigration Services chief returns to DHS in different role MORE, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“For retailers in U.S. border communities, this would ultimately mean workforce disruptions and reduced sales. American small businesses in those communities would face a disproportionate burden, as many smaller stores depend on legitimate travel across borders for up to half of their daily sales,” Shay wrote.

NRF is the latest trade group to weigh in on the issue, adding to the pressure on President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE to back off his threats.

The Business Roundtable, a trade group representing major Americans businesses, sent a letter to the administration this week, while the National Association of Manufacturers released an economic study on how much businesses would lose if the border closes.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he is aware of the potential cost of closing the border and Kudlow later told reporters that the White House is exploring ways to mitigate the economic harm it could cause.