News & Reviews News Wire Customs officials reopen Eagle Pass and El Paso rail gateways

Customs officials reopen Eagle Pass and El Paso rail gateways

By Bill Stephens | December 22, 2023

Railroads praise end of shutdown that had stranded freight on both sides of the border

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A BNSF Railway train, led by a Canadian National locomotive, approaches the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection portal at Eagle Pass, Texas, while slowly rolling across the bridge over the Rio Grande in May 2019. Bill Stephens

WASHINGTON — The Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, railroad border crossings will reopen at 1 p.m. Central today, ending a shutdown that had stranded freight on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border since 8 a.m. on Monday.

Railroads cheered the announcement that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials made today.

“The Biden Administration made the right decision to protect our supply chain and keep goods moving between the U.S. and Mexico,” Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, said in a statement. “In the face of the unprecedented humanitarian crisis, CBP has been working under exceptionally difficult circumstances, but these ill-advised closures were a blunt force tool that did nothing to bolster law enforcement capacity. As CBP continues their work to address this crisis, railroads strongly encourage the agency to abandon this tactic moving forward in favor of approaches that are capable of meaningfully enhancing its response capabilities.”

Union Pacific and BNSF Railway send a combined two dozen trains across the bridges at Eagle Pass and El Paso, the No. 2 and No. 3 rail gateways to Mexico, respectively. Mexican railroad Ferromex is the U.S. railroads’ interchange partner at both border crossings.

“Union Pacific is relieved the border crossings at Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, will reopen,” spokeswoman Robynn Tysver says. “These crossings are critical gateways for international commerce, and the closures had real-world impacts for families, businesses, and our customers on both sides of the border. We will restore normal operations as quickly as possible as we work through the five-day backlog of shipments holding to cross the border.”

Customs officials said they would continue to prioritize border security as the migrant situation evolves.

9 thoughts on “Customs officials reopen Eagle Pass and El Paso rail gateways

  1. Mr Turcotte: You should listen to the current hearings on the Biden’s. You have your parties backwards. Mexican railroads have long been free transportation of migrants to the US. Within recent months the numbers have exploded.

  2. The wrong doing of the Biden administration would be the lax boarder/immigration policies of this administration that has resulted in 8 million people crossing the southern US border the last 3 years.

  3. The money-obsessed guy left office after his months of invention and lying failed to overturn a lawful election. And now his orchestrated insurrection has him off the ballot. More to follow.

  4. I will wait on the Congressional hearings in a few weeks when the transportation and homeland security sub-committees call up the talking heads to see who says what.

    I guess the question for me is, why aren’t UP/Ferromex/BNSF hiring more railroad police officers?

    1. It would be for Ferromex to hire the officers, which everyone knows they have been lax at doing. They should take a leaf out of KCS de Mexico’s book by all reports. On the NA side of the Bridge, the Border Police are in complete control until trains from Mexico leave the portal area. Only then would extra RR Police have any authority.

  5. Ok all you political know-it-alls, since you blamed Biden (falsely) for the shutdown, will you now give him credit for getting the problem solved and the crossings re-opened? I’ll wait….

    1. Anton Bruce – if you have any evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden, please email them to your congressman ASAP. The Republican Congress seems to have a really hard time finding some, since they openly admitted they are impeaching Biden without any evidence whatsoever.

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