EL PASO, Texas – The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) today urged the Biden Administration to reconsider and promptly reopen critical rail crossings in El Paso and Eagle Pass. This appeal is aimed at mitigating the escalating downstream delays that are adversely affecting the Texas economy.
The recent decision by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to close the El Paso and Eagle Pass rail crossings as part of its border management strategy has triggered immediate and severe repercussions for cross-border trade and transportation.
“With 24 trains facilitating the transportation of agricultural products, automotive parts, finished vehicles, chemicals, consumer goods, and more daily, the sudden shutdown at these two crossings has extensive downstream impacts on shippers, customers, and the entire North American rail network,” said El Paso County Commissioner and TBC Chairman David Stout.
Stout noted that one railroad has reportedly been forced to place holds on more than 60 trains in 50 different rail yards due to inadequate detour options. In addition, grain trains were being held in various locations throughout Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. Similar holds have been enforced for U.S.-bound traffic currently detained in Mexico.
Contrary to the explanation provided by the CBP, it is crucial to note that migrants are not utilizing these well-controlled rail crossings in significant numbers, the commissioner added.
“With 100 percent screening procedures in place, closing these rail gateways will not alleviate unauthorized crossings but impose significant economic costs,” Stout said.
TBC also urged the Biden Administration to reopen Eagle Pass Bridge 1 to vehicular traffic. The partial closure is having a damaging impact on the border economy. Like many border communities, the number of bridge crossings impacts local government revenue, which accounts for about half of Eagle Pass’ annual budget.