Mexico urges against migrant-related US border closures hurting trade

Reuters | September 22, 2023

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico’s foreign ministry urged U.S. authorities on Thursday not to take “unilateral measures” complicating trade at the border with the United States, as some ports of entry have been shut down.

U.S. officials have temporarily closed some border crossings to shift Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to process more migrant arrivals, limiting the flow of goods into the country.

Mexico added it was in constant contact with U.S. authorities and business leaders “to look for operations to be reestablished, given the situation.”

Rail operator Union Pacific said thousands of tons of customer freight were stalled as train traffic to Mexico via Eagle Pass in Texas has halted.

The pass is one of the busiest gateways between the U.S. and Mexico and was shut as media outlets reported migrants from Mexico riding on rail cars to cross into the small Texas city.

“(Our) other gateways cannot handle the extra traffic and we are notifying customers of an embargo at Eagle Pass, effective immediately,” Union Pacific said late on Wednesday.

The influx of migrants prompted Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas to issue emergency declaration, citing a “severe undocumented immigrant surge”.

The situation is expected to continue for seven days from Tuesday, according to the city’s official account on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Cargo processing at the Bridge of the Americas on the border between El Paso, Texas, and the Mexican city of Juarez was also halted this week because of more migrant arrivals.

Meanwhile, Mexican rail operator Ferromex recently stopped some cargo trains, bringing estimated losses of up to 40 million pesos ($2.32 million) a day, after a spate of deaths and serious injuries of migrants riding on them.

($1 = 17.2070 Mexican pesos)

(Reporting by Ananta Agarwal in Bengaluru and Kylie Madry in Mexico City; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Gerry Doyle)