December 22, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

International rail gateways at Eagle Pass and El Paso, on the Texas-Mexican border, have reopened to commerce today, according to Customs and Border Patrol's Office of Field Operations.

The two major rail gateways were shut down by CBP Monday December 19th at 8:00am, causing a massive backup of trains through the midwest, in Texas and also in Mexico.

Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business blasted the Biden administration decision to close the international rail crossings so that CBP personnel could instead be reassigned to processing a surge of illegal immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border. Earlier this week Hamer said  "We all support a secure border but this isn't the way to do it. Closures will disrupt legal trade, commerce and retail. This is a big mistake for CBP and timing couldn't be worse."

The rail closures were costing U.S. business and workers $200 million a day, according to a post from Hamer on X. He cited "the chaos and costs of closing the border" and remarked that Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs called it a bad decision. "I call it half baked", said Hamer.

Union Pacific spokesperson Robynn Tysver issued a statement that read "Union Pacific is relieved the border crossings at Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, will reopen. These crossings are critical gateways for international commerce, and the closures had real-world impacts for families, businesses, and our customers on both sides of the border. We will restore normal operations as quickly as possible as we work through the five-day backlog of shipments holding to cross the border.”

Eagle Pass in the 2nd busiest international rail crossing between Texas and Mexico and El Paso is ranked third. Both account for a total of 24 trains a day crossing between the two countries.

Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads said in a statement "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.”

The CBP continues to limit vehicular traffic in key ports in Eagle Pass. Hamer said that "DHS needs to avoid strategies that cause unnecessary harm to border communities" and that it hurts trade and family travel during the holiday season.

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