Texas railway crossings reopened for business

Groups call on U.S., Mexico governments to establish measures to prevent future situations.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

December 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Getty Images/ iStock

After five days of pressure from numerous trade groups, stakeholders, and lawmakers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Friday that it had resumed operations at international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas. However, the agency said it will continue to prioritize its border security mission “as necessary” in response to the evolving situation.

“We continue to assess security situations, adjust our operational plans, and deploy resources to maximize enforcement efforts against those noncitizens who do not use lawful pathways or processes such as CBP One and those without a legal basis to remain in the United States,” the agency said.

Several agriculture groups immediately released statements applauding the agency’s decision.

“The NGFA and NAEGA are pleased to see the reopening of the Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas railroad crossings to allow for the immediate passage of trains between the United States and Mexico. The North American agricultural supply chain is deeply integrated. Any closure of crossings into Mexico is unacceptable and significantly impacts the flow of grain and oilseeds for both human and livestock feed to one of the United States’ most important export markets and trading partners,” the groups stated.

Related:Stakeholders, lawmakers call for reopening of Texas border railway crossings

Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Ian Jefferies responded to the news, saying the Biden Administration “made the right decision to protect our supply chain and keep goods moving between the U.S. and Mexico.”

Jefferies acknowledged that CBP has been working under “exceptionally difficult circumstances” in an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” but added, “these ill-advised closures were a blunt force tool that did nothing to bolster law enforcement capacity.”

“As CBP continues their work to address this crisis, railroads strongly encourage the agency to abandon this tactic moving forward in favor of approaches that are capable of meaningfully enhancing its response capabilities,” he said.

NGFA and NAEGA called the governments of the United States and Mexico to continue to dialogue and to put in place measures on both sides of the border to ensure this situation not happen again.

“The free flow of trade across the border is critical to food security for our countries and the region at large. A plan must be in place to keep the border open to commerce between our nations,” they stated.

The groups thanked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and members of Congress for their efforts to convince the Department of Homeland Security and CBP of the importance of reopening these crossings to agriculture trade between the United States and Mexico.

CBP closed the borders on Monday due to a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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