“System-Wide Failure” Results In Long Delays For Truckers At U.S. Southern Border
San Diego, California – A surge of illegal crossings along the U.S. southern border is creating a domino effect of problems for U.S. government officials and truck drivers.
As U.S. political leaders continue to squabble over what to do about immigration, economic migrants from South and Central America and Mexico, continue to flood into the U.S. to claim asylum.
In response to what most now agree is both an humanitarian and national security crisis, President Trump has threatened to shut the southern border down.
This continued threat by Mr. Trump has prompted the American Trucking Associations (ATA) to urge him not to do so. ATA claims it would cost the trucking industry $18 million a day.
However, the White House has indicated that if Mr. Trump moves to close the border he would allow trucks to continue to cross.
Truckers Experiencing Long Delays
Chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border is also creating long delays for truck drivers.
In an effort to provide support, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reassigned 750 U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents to help process asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The reallocation of personnel resources has already forced the closure of two of the 10 northbound lanes on the commercial side of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, according to a report by Fox 2.
According to the report, truck drivers are informing officials it is taking them as many as 8 hours to cross the border.
“Unfortunately we’re the ones who are going to pay the price,” truck driver Jorge Lara told Fox 2. Lara said he waited five hours to get his load of cucumbers north of the border.
The longer wait times began on Monday, and since it is not yet known when the two lanes will re-open, it is likely the delays will continue.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol released a statement on the commercial vehicle lane shutdown issue:
“The indefinite reduction of processing lanes at the Otay Mesa commercial facility is due to this deployment (of agents). As such, we will be unable to extend the hours of operation impacting our ability to provide services after our regular closing time.”
The pressure on staffing has also led to Border Patrol cutting all Sunday commercial vehicle inspections at the Nogales, Arizona port of entry. Other ports of entry are operating on a restricted schedule of hours.
Fears are also beginning to grow that such pressures and inefficiencies in the cross-border distribution system could lead to a spike in produce prices and possibly even shortages of certain foods.
On Wednesday, in a letter, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen requested that DHS employees volunteer to assist Customs and Border Patrol and ICE “in responding to the emergency at the southern border.”
Nielsen described the scene at the southern border as a “system-wide failure.” Nielsen said she has met with “senior Mexican officials” to discuss how to “stem the historic flows” from both sides of the border, but the dysfunction continues.
Dysfunction also continues in Washington, D.C. as Democrat and Republican Congressional leaders continue to fail to adequately respond to the growing crisis.