CBP stops processing commercial truck shipments at port of entry in Texas

Border officials said cargo operations on the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, Texas, were suspended indefinitely starting Monday. (Photo: US Customs and Border Protection)

Cargo truck operations at the El Paso, Texas port of entry have been temporarily suspended as border agents in West Texas shift to immigration duties amid an influx of migrants trying to cross into the U.S.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) moved some employees away from cargo operations at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso to process the influx, according to CBP officials.

“The temporary suspension at the Bridge of the Americas will allow CBP officers to assist U.S. Border Patrol in processing noncitizens who have arrived between ports of entry, including vulnerable populations such as families and unaccompanied children,” CBP said in a press release on Friday. “CBP regularly plans and implements emergency measures, such as these, to support the agency’s overall mission and ensure the safety and well-being of people in the agency’s custody.”

El Paso leads the United States in the total number of migrants encountered at the Mexican border over the past 10 months, with 364,092.

The Bridge of the Americas is one of two commercial border crossings between the United States and Mexico in El Paso, the other being the nearby Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge.

More than 650,000 cargo trucks crossed the border using the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge in 2022, while 161,439 trucks used the Americas Bridge.

Maro Campos, governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, said closing the Bridge of the Americas would harm cross-border trade. Chihuahua is located across the Texas-Mexico border from El Paso.

“This closure means suspending the passage of at least 600 trailers per day into the United States… which could represent about $33 million per day,” Campos told El Universal. “We understand the pressures that the US authorities are under because of what is happening in the border area… That is why we urge the Mexican government to resolve these cross-border issues.”

CBP said cross-border truckers should plan to use the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge, the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry, or the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in New Mexico.

The Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge and Santa Teresa are about 15 to 17 miles away, while Marcelino Serna is about 40 miles south of El Paso.

“CBP will remain in contact with stakeholders and will provide updates regarding these contingency plans as they become available,” CBP officials said. “The agency will work to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

Waiting times for freight trucks at the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge are currently 100 minutes in the general commercial lanes and 75 minutes for vehicles permitted in the Free and Safe Trade Program lanes.

The Santa Teresa Port of Entry currently has a wait time of 40 to 45 minutes for cargo trucks, while the Marcelino Serna Port of Entry has wait times of five to seven minutes.

The El Paso Port of Entry was the 44th busiest international gateway for U.S. trade in July, accounting for about $8 billion in trade volume, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.

In April, CBP also suspended shipping operations on the Bridge of the Americas for four days due to the influx of migrants.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noe Mahoney.

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