040819 truckinspect.jpg Photo: File photo
Customs has shifted 750 agents away from truck inspections, resulting in long waits at the border.

Trucks face growing wait times as Customs shifts border agents

Commercial vehicles entering the United States from Mexico have encountered excessive wait times as more border agents are shifted to immigration duties. 

On March 27, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced it was shiftingup to 750 officers from ports of entry at the border to supporting with care and custody of migrants.

“This shifting of resources and personnel will have a detrimental impact at all Southwest border ports of entry,” the agency said. “CBP will have to close lanes, resulting in increased wait times for commercial shipments and travelers.”

At the same time, some manufacturers in Mexico rushed shipments to the United States out of concern President Trump could completely shut the border. Other manufacturers are storing finished products or halting production due to delayed supplies. 

On April 5, Customs closed the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, TX, to commercial traffic for the first time. This measure is expected to continue every Saturday. 

Earlier in the week, some truckers were reporting wait times of up to 12 hours, requiring companies to deliver them food or even new drivers to provide relief. In some locations, local officials placed portable toilets along the roads.

Photo: KTSM/Twitter040819 KTSM.jpeg

Long wait times have also been reported at Laredo, TX, and Otay Mesa, CA. 

Laredo is the nation’s busiest land port, handling an estimated 40% of all trade with Mexico, according to the Laredo Economic Development Corp. 

Jeff Moseley, president of the Texas Association of Business, estimates 14,000 trucks a day cross in both directions between Nuevo Laredo and Laredo.

CBP also stopped closed inspections lanes on Sundays for trucks at Nogales, AZ. 

TAGS: News Economics
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