Crucial Trade Route Thrown Into Chaos As Biden Shuts Down Railways Over Illegal Immigration

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The Biden administration’s move to shut down key railroads at the U.S.-Mexico border over a surge in illegal immigration is throwing shipping companies into chaos.

Bridge crossings along major railway shipping routes crossing the southern border through Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, were shut down “in order to redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The companies that utilized these railways for business are severely impacted and are insisting they be reopened. (RELATED: Immigration Courts Add A Whopping One Million Cases To Backlog As Border Crisis Worsens)

As of Monday, 10,000 railway cars have ground to a halt across the railways, making up roughly 60 trains in total, according to The Loadstar, citing data from Union Pacific.

“The urgency of reopening these crossings and restoring rail service between the two nations cannot be overstated,” Ian Jefferies, Association of American Railroads (AAR) president and CEO, said in a statement on Monday. “Every day the border remains closed unleashes a cascade of delay across operations on both sides of the border, impacting customers and ultimately consumers.”

The shipping companies most affected –AAR, Union Pacific and BNSF – operate on these railways “24 hours a day” and rely on them heavily for their business, Jefferies said in his statement. Approximately 45% of Union Pacific’s cross-border business operated through these three railways, and there isn’t an effective alternative to ship their production, according to the company.

“There isn’t enough capacity at our other four gateways to reroute them,” Union Pacific said in a statement on its website. “The longer this closure is in effect, the more difficult it will be for cross-border trade to resume.”

Shipment will be severely impacted for goods like consumer and agricultural products, chemicals, auto parts and finished vehicles, food and beverage products, and “industrial commodities” like cement and metals, according to the companies. Though the shutdown is currently limited to these three railroad systems, ultimately all railways will be affected because “all carriers interchange goods across the North American rail network,” according to Jefferies.

Illegal immigrant encounters at the border have spiked under the Biden administration at over 2 million in fiscal year 2023, near 2022’s numbers at 2.2 million, the highest level on record. CBP resources at states bordering Mexico have become strained trying to deal with the worsening migrant crisis while the Biden administration refuses to agree on a more rigorous border security deal.

CBP said in its Sunday statement that it would “continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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