The Trump administration’s decision to shift hundreds of customs agents to processing asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border is creating huge traffic jams at US ports of entry.
Long lines aren’t uncommon at these major border crossings that process vast quantities of produce, car parts, and other US-bound goods. But the cuts in personnel have turned the typical congestion into snaking bottlenecks that stretch for miles.
The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that the typically half-hour trip to cross the World Trade Bridge from Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico to Laredo, Texas was now a three-hour journey. As of 1 PM CST today, the wait time for commercial trucks there was 240 minutes, according to Customs and Border Protection.
Meanwhile, the two-hour drive from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas has nearly quadrupled, the Wall Street Journal (paywall) noted. Drivers who could typically make several runs across the border and back in a single day were cutting back to just one round trip.
Photos from the past few days show the growing traffic at several US ports of entry. The Department of Homeland Security has already ordered 750 customs officers away from ports to handle the influx of Central American migrants, many of them families with small children. The Trump administration has deemed the arrivals a crisis and is planning to reassign more than 2,000 officers in total to assist with the large groups arriving at the border. If that happens, the pileups may only get worse.