The feds will transfer at least 100 agents from Canadian crossings to the southwest border to try to ease long wait times for truckers and others trying to cross the US-Mexico border.
Customs and Border Protection officers from airports and the northern border “will be replacing the CBP officers currently assigned to support the Border Patrol along the Southwest border,” a CBP official said, the El Paso Times reported Friday.
Truckers and others crossing have endured crushing daily waits since CBP reassigned 750 officers from ports of entry elsewhere on the southern border to help overwhelmed staffers dealing with a surge of Central American migrants arriving daily in El Paso and elsewhere.
The staffing shifts closed lanes at the ports of entry, delaying cargo shipments, snarling traffic in Mexico and making life miserable for truckers and commuters.
US and Mexican business, manufacturing and political leaders told the paper the brutal delays threaten commerce, industry and tourism far from the border.
After meeting with CBP leaders this week, Rep. Veronica Escobar, an El Paso Democrat, tweeted that help was on the way.
“On Mon, 100 add’l agents will be sent to 2 sectors, including El Paso,” she wrote.
It was unclear what the transfers would mean for people crossing the Canadian border, but wait times at airports and other crossings could presumably get longer.
The initial reassignment was announced March 27 by then-CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, now the acting head of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen was forced out by President Trump.
A three-mile-long line of hundreds of tractor-trailers packed with cargo bound for the US waited in the heat in Juarez on Thursday.
Pedro Sanchez, one of hundreds of truckers lined along the boulevard stretching along the Rio Grande, told the paper he had never seen lines this bad in the two decades he has delivered loads of food over the border.
“It tires us, and it hurts economically and environmentally the longer we’re here,” Sanchez said. “We get up early and our trip can be from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m.”
To deal with the long waits, the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico set up portable potties for drivers, and enterprising food vendors take orders for burritos and aguas frescas, the Times reported.
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