US Reopens Key Rail Crossings Between Texas, Mexico


WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday reopened two rail crossings between Texas and Mexico, five days after they were closed in response to increased migrant traffic.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said operations resumed midafternoon Friday at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas. The closures had prompted alarm from railroads, the agriculture industry and some lawmakers over the economic impact to export trade.

The White House said the United States will be operating the crossings for 24-hour-a-day operations for the next few days.

“We are grateful for Mexico’s cooperation to reduce migration pressure in these sectors and combat the smugglers placing migrants in harm’s way,” a White House spokesperson said.

Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, praised the reopening but said the closure should not be repeated.

Growers, representing U.S. corn, milk, rice and soybean producers, among others, estimated that every day the crossings were closed “almost 1 million bushels of grain exports are potentially lost along with export potential for many other agricultural products.”

The Biden administration on Monday closed the trade routes because of increased migrant crossings. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended about 10,800 migrants at the southwest border on Monday, according to an internal agency report reviewed by Reuters, which several current and former officials said was near or at a single-day record.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said Friday the government “insisted on the need to reopen border crossings as soon as possible to guarantee dynamic trade flows and enhance the economic relationship” between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexico’s main farm lobby CNA expressed relief at the reopenings, saying “the lack of supplies in Mexico, caused by the closures, was affecting food production, raising costs and putting food security at risk in the country.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday his government will reinforce measures to contain migration as he seeks to help the United States cope with record numbers of people trying to reach the U.S. border.

Lopez Obrador’s comments come a day after he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden, during which both agreed that more enforcement was needed, as record numbers of migrants disrupt border trade.

Migrants are heading to the U.S. to escape violence, economic distress and the impacts of climate change, according to the U.N. The number of people crossing the perilous Darien Gap straddling Colombia and Central America has topped half a million this year, double last year’s record figures.

Top U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas, will visit Mexico on December 27 to follow up on the call.

Lopez Obrador said Mexico would step up containment efforts on its southern border with Guatemala as his government seeks agreements with other countries to manage the northbound migrant flows, making particular mention of Venezuela.

The measures under discussion did not just involve containment, Lopez Obrador said, noting that it was important to continue efforts to promote economic development in the region, and address the root causes of migration.

The CBP said on Friday that Eagle Pass vehicular processing remained suspended along with San Diego San Ysidro’s Pedestrian West operations. Port of entry operations at Lukeville, Arizona, and Morely Gate in Nogales, Arizona remain suspended.

Source: VOA