Dem lawmaker says closing southern border would damage US-Mexico trade

Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.) on Wednesday warned against closing the southern border, saying the move would damage trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

"I don't want to see the borders closed," Van Drew told hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on Hill.TV's "Rising."

"We do a lot of trade with Mexico, and I know for a fact that if we close the borders, not only will it hurt Mexico, it will hurt the United States as well," he said.

Van Drew said in the same interview that the U.S. should have “safe, intact borders,” which he said includes an “actual physical border.”

"I would think a more intelligent and better way would be to begin this bigger-picture discussion in the longer term of how we're just going to settle this issue once and for all," he said, referring to immigration reform.

"It has gone on for so many years," he added. "It is a display of the dysfunction that people who are on the outside don't like."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE last week threatened to close the southern border if Mexico did not work to curb the flow of migrants into the U.S.

He appeared to back off of the demand on Tuesday, telling reporters at the White House that any move to close the border depends on reaching a deal with Congress to pass stricter immigration laws.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday that the administration is looking at ways to avoid an economic hit if the border were to be closed down. 

— Julia Manchester