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Tijuana Drawing Shoppers Who Flocked to San Diego

Capital News
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November 13, 2017
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Mexicans in Tijuana demonstrating against US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border (AFP/Guillermo Arias)

Rahil Iqbal sugarcoats nothing: “Business is finished.”

The 64-year-old of Pakistani origin says sales have plummeted at his California clothing stores in San Diego’s San Ysidro district, which borders Tijuana, Mexico. He blames US President Donald Trump’s fierce rhetoric against immigrants, especially Mexicans.

Business has plunged some 70 percent, he estimates, while the local Chamber of Commerce calculates that area shops have seen sales drop by 35 to 45 percent since Trump entered the White House.

“The feeling is palpable,” said Jason Wells, the chamber’s president.

“It’s the uncertainty that affects us,” he told AFP, explaining that Mexicans who used to cross the border to shop now fear to make the journey.

Jorge Trujillo, who has seen sales at his cell phone store drop 30 percent, said a government order for border agents to check the social-network contacts of foreigners entering the country has fanned fears.

If Mexicans buy a phone number stateside without being residents, they worry that customs agents will think they live in the US and take their tourist papers, the shopowner said.

Trump’s aggressive rhetoric — including his threats to build a massive border wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants — has stirred both anger and newfound pride among residents of the border region.

The president has moved to eliminate the DACA program, which allowed undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to work — an Obama-era measure that benefited more than half a million Mexicans.

“He has promoted a sense of Mexicanness, particularly on the border,” said Mario Carignan, president of Tijuana’s Chamber of Commerce, who said members there report sales increases of up to 10 percent.

Read the rest at Capital News


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