The US-Mexico border has been talked about a lot in the news since the Trump Administration took office. While the conversation is often centered on immigration, it is important to note the vital role Mexico plays in the United States’ economy. Every day thousands of shipments cross the border from Mexico to fulfill orders in the US.
However, now truckers trying to make deliveries in the US are gridlocked after the Trump administration reassigned inspectors at the border to immigration duties. Truckers looking to cross the border are now waiting in line for hours, and sometimes even days. Many have been sleeping in their own trucks as they wait in line.
The government has reassigned around 750 border inspectors to other jobs so far. This has caused the wait times at the borders for trucks to swell and has resulted in significant changes at major crossings. In El Paso, one of the bridges for truckers has closed and in San Diego, two out of the ten lanes for truck crossing have been shut down. Wait times at Santa Teresa, New Mexico has doubled and the border at Nogales, Arizona is being closed down.
In order to deal with the long waits, the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, across the border from El Paso, has set up portable bathrooms for truck drivers. Food vendors have also begun delivering food and water to trapped truckers.
These delays have already begun to hit trade hard. According to the head of the Mexican trucking association CANACAR, losses have amounted to $800,000 a day for transportation businesses in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. Data from Index Juarez, a border business association, show losses for exporting firms in the area totaling over $15 million. Manufacturing plants have had to turn to expensive airfreight just to make shipments on schedule.
In light of the delays, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stated they will send about 100 agents to the US-Mexico border to speed things up. Rather than move Southern border inspectors back to their old jobs, the CBP is planning on sending officers from the Canadian border to help relieve wait times.
The wait times are expected to start shrinking this week as new officers arrive to deal with the backlog. Truckers have reported that wait periods already began to decrease once the announcement of reassignments was declared. Hopefully, shipments at the US-Mexico border will begin to run smoothly again and transportation companies such as TRAFFIX can continue their jobs.