Border Crossing Updates

MasTacos

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I had a call with some of my vendors to get an update on the current situation. Here's a quick summary.

  • The situation is still very fluid but I should have more information either today or tomorrow.
  • The plan is to move up to 750 CBP Officers (CBPOs) from ports of entry along the border to support Border Patrol.
  • Most of the crossing districts have separate passenger bridges and cargo bridges. The past week's drills and activities have all been held on the passenger bridges with the focus on individuals vs. cargo
  • Currently there's no indication of cargo lanes being shut down. 20,000 Full Truck Loads/Day cross the border and closure of those cargo lanes will mean a collapse in trade.
 

MasTacos

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Right now it looks like the delays are mostly happening in Texas but increases in border crossing times should be expected as more officers are deployed away from the California crossings.
  • El Paso: Over a seven hour wait;
  • Laredo: Up to a three to eight hour wait;
  • McAllen: Up to a three to six hour wait;
  • Nogales: No abnormal delays seen;
  • San Diego: No abnormal delays seen;
To complicate matters there are some groups protesting in some areas on the Mexico side of the border also which obviously makes the situation worse and slows traffic flows even more. It's unclear if these protests have started on the Baja side of the border.
 
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WASHINGTON – Customs and Border Protection said it is stopping Sunday inspection of commercial trucks at Nogales in order to shift officers elsewhere on the border, sparking an outcry from produce companies who fear damage to the time-sensitive industry.

The cut comes as the Trump administration has ordered CBP to redeploy 750 officers from ports of entry so they can help Border Patrol agents respond to a surge of immigrants at the southern border.

But business officials said Tuesday that CBP officers are needed at ports of entry, where they can process legal products efficiently and intercept illicit goods. That position was echoed Tuesday in a letter to CBP from Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, who said that “reducing port staffing harms security and our economy.”

“Arizona’s ports play a critical role in preventing narcotics and other illegal goods from entering the country,” said a statement from Sinema’s office on the letter. “Staffing reductions will hurt the agency’s security mission and make Arizona’s families and communities less safe.”

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said diverting officers has caused “lane closures, delays, disruptions to trade flows, and increased shipping costs.”

“All of this will negatively impact the U.S. economy while leaving our ports of entry more vulnerable,” Jungmeyer said in a statement.

The change was announced Friday in a CBP bulletin to businesses that use the Mariposa Port of Entry at Nogales. While Sunday hours there were already shorter than other days, and only offered during the produce high season, CBP said they would be cut entirely beginning April 7 because it is facing “an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis.”

The bulletin said that “ports are realigning their workforce and limiting or discontinuing some services” in order to minimize the impact on legitimate trade and travel.

The news is part of a flurry of border-related concerns sparked by President Donald Trump’s threat last week to close the U.S.-Mexico border and cut off aid to Central American countries in hopes of forcing them to stem the migrant problem where it starts.

Critics said a border shutdown between the U.S. and its third-largest trading partner would be an “economic disaster.” Trade between the two countries was just under $616 billion in 2017, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Trade between Arizona and Mexico was worth $16.7 billion in 2018.

Trump acknowledged the economic impact of closing the border, but claimed Tuesday that the mere threat has already had an effect.

“Mexico, as you know, has as of yesterday started to apprehend a lot of people at their southern border,” he said. “They’ve literally apprehended thousands of people. And it’s the first time really in decades that this is taking place.”

Despite that, he said he is “ready to close it (the border) if I have to” and that the economic impact would be a consideration, but “security is most important.”

Guillermo Martinez, general manager for Wilson Produce, called Trump’s threats “a lot of talk,” but said the consequences of a closed border would have “tremendous” effect. Even shutting down Mariposa on Sundays will mean “orders not being filled on time,” he said.

“Produce is a very perishable item, so we have to have a very timely chain of logistics. Having this day taken away from us basically prevents us from filling the orders on time,” said Martinez, whose business is in Nogales.

Martinez said closing the Mariposa crossing on Sundays will have a ripple effect on the produce industry in Nogales.

“It can basically put probably 10 to 15 trucks, that we should have that Sunday, back to Monday,” he said. “You’re basically doubling the shift and the work for Monday.”

That, in turn, will affect grocers and consumers, he said.

“By the time it hits (shelves), it could be produce that is no longer good for consuming,” Martinez said.

The cuts comes to an agency that was already understaffed, said Martinez, adding that the produce industry has long asked CBP for “more boots on the ground.” That was echoed by the president of the union that represents CBP officers.

“We’ve been urging Congress for years to increase CBP staffing at the ports,” said a statement from National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. “Yet there are still 1,600 CBP Officer vacancies and funding is needed to hire an additional 1,900 to meet the agency’s own workload staffing model.”

Those shortfalls were slowing traffic at the ports even before it was announced that officers would be shifted to border duty, Reardon said. But he added that CBP officers are “answering the call to duty” and “they have our support.”

Sinema and McSally wrote in their letter that they “understand the challenges that CBP faces with the recent influx of migrants,” but that “different options must be explored” to combat the surge.

Martinez said that whatever happens, he hopes it does not harm the produce industry.

“The industry has been here for a long, long time, and commerce between Mexico and the U.S. has really brought up a lot of good product and good produce to U.S. consumers,” he said.
 

jon coleman

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news just said trump not closing boarder.got one year to get act together trump told mexi officials.soooo, we' ll just put this thread in hibernation till next year....
 
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9 arrested on suspicion of being scouts for sophisticated smuggling operations

Border Patrol Special Operations agents arrested 9 alien scouts over the weekend and seized the pictured equipment. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo)


Originally Published: April 9, 2019 7:24 p.m.


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YUMA – Border Patrol agents say they arrested nine men near Yuma who were operating as scouts for smuggling operations.
According to a Border Patrol news release, agents found nine Mexican nationals Sunday morning near Yuma County’s Camp Grip. The men were in the United States illegally and had surveillance equipment, including two-way radios, high-power spotting scopes and binoculars, and solar panels.
“While almost half of our manpower is tied up transporting, processing and caring for Central American families and children we have suspected cartel members conducting highly sophisticated smuggling operations,” said Chief Border Patrol Agent Anthony Porvaznik in the news release. “Our primary focus needs to be on our National Security Mission.”
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Shift of CBP officers has led to border slowdown that’s hurting trade

Pedestrians line up to enter the U.S. at the Calexico, California, border checkpoint in this file photo. Business leaders say redeployment of CBP officers to deal with a border surge has led to slowdowns at ports of entry. (Photo by Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Andrew Howard, Cronkite News
Originally Published: April 9, 2019 7:22 p.m.


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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump may have backed off his threat to close the border, but business leaders said Monday there is a very real slowdown in crossings after the redeployment of Customs and Border Protection officers.
Then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week ordered 750 CBP officers pulled from ports and sent to assist with border patrol duties in the face of a flood of migrants at the southern border. Business and government officials from both sides of the border say that move has led to lane closures, increased wait times and loss of certain services for commercial traffic at the border.
“It’s not just the threat of a shutdown,” said Arizona Chamber of Commerce Glenn Hamer, on the Monday conference call. “It’s that right now, we are experiencing a slowdown, and we are experiencing a shutdown in certain services. This isn’t something that is a year out, this is something we are feeling on the ground today.”
Laredo, Texas, Mayor Pete Saenz said that moving CBP officers has closed a third of the lanes at the port there, which has cost one company $600,000 in overtime payments.
“Any threat, just the actual verbalizing of a threat of closing the border causes chaos and uncertainty,” Saenz said. “The removing of CBP officers who are so specialized and crucial for the transfer of trade and commerce is vital?”
It caps a week of tumult on border policy for the Trump administration that saw the president not only threaten, then back away from, a border shutdown but also vow to withhold $450 million in aid from Central American countries and shift the CBP officers away from ports of entry.
The shutdown threats come in response to large numbers of migrants from Central America arriving at the border. CBP said it was on track to apprehend 100,000 migrants in March, the highest number in nearly a decade, and was forced to release many immigrants into the community because it did not have capacity to house them all.
While debate over a shutdown churned, Trump late last week withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitiello, a career border official who was in line to be director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying only that he wanted to “go in a tougher direction.”
And on Sunday, he accepted the resignation of Nielsen, long a target of Trump’s for her department’s inability to crack down on the border.
and attacked by Democrats for the DHS policy of separating families at the border. Trump said in a tweet that CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will be acting secretary.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, called Nielsen “Trump’s willing foot-soldier” and said she implemented policies that left a “dark stain on the conscience of our nation.”
Grijalva and other Arizona lawmakers also criticized Nielsen’s decision to shift CBP officers.
“Reducing the number of Customs officers will only increase the average wait times for cars, trucks and pedestrians and significantly disrupt the efficient flow of economic activity and tourism that benefits all of Arizona,” Grijalva said in a letter with fellow Tucson Democrat, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.
The state’s two senators, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, also wrote to DHS calling for the officers to be returned to the ports.
When asked about the delays Monday, CBP referred to statements by McAleenan when the redeployment was announced, which acknowledged it would result in delays, but that the need to deal with immigrants was more important.
“There will be a slowdown in the processing of trade, there will be wait time increases in our pedestrian and passenger vehicle lanes … but this is required to help us manage this operational crisis,” he said two weeks ago.
Hamer and others on the call said the shutdown comes at a particularly bad time, as Easter season typically sees a lot of cross-border business. They said they understand the problems at the border, but that trade does not have to be sacrificed for security.
“We can have very strong and economically prosperous for all trade while we deal with these very serious immigration issues,” Hamer said. “It’s not an either or.”
Hamer said the importance of trade with Mexico “can’t be overstated”: Northbound traffic alone accounts for 740 trains, 400,000 trucks, 13,000 buses, 17.8 million cars and 25 million people crossing the Arizona border. He said those people spend $7.5 million every day in Arizona, where some border communities get up to 70% of sales taxes from Mexican visitors.
But the effect of problems at the border will be felt far beyond border communities, Hamer said.
“For all those who enjoy fresh delicious produce from Mexico, particularly the very yummy tomatoes and the nutritious avocados … our consumers across the country are going to feel the pain in terms of higher prices and less produce,” he said.
Paola Avila, vice president of international business affairs at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Monday that San Diego has seen its wait times double since the redeployment of personnel.
“These wait times are very significant, and it’s real,” Avila said, noting that the redeployment is set for 30 days. “Thirty days of this doubling of wait time is hugely detrimental. We don’t need to run numbers to figure out what the impact might have, we already know what that impact has had in our border regions.”
Saenz said the solution is simple: Let CBP agents continue doing their everyday jobs.
“For us, the quick fix is bring the CBP officers back, open those lanes and allow trade to proceed,” Saenz said.

Plan ahead for the 500, etc.?
 

Honda48X

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We should never sacrifice security of our nation. If I have to wait 3 hours then I have too. Anyway last week I only spent 40 minuets in the general line in Mexicali.
 
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