Migrants at the US-Mexico border wall
The summit was held in the town of Palenque, Mexico AFP

More than 40 major United States agricultural groups have asked the government to reopen the two rail crossings on the Texas-Mexico border, which were shut due to increased migrant crossings.

The groups, representing milk, soybean, corn, and rice producers, wrote an open letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, requesting immediate opening of the El Paso and Eagle Pass international rail crossings.

"The closure of the rail crossings is rippling back into the U.S. supply chain and having negative impacts on the U.S. economy," the groups wrote, emphasizing how badly this closure is hurting the country's economy. The Union Pacific Railway estimates that $200 million in economic activity is lost daily due to this closure.

"Each day the crossings are closed we estimate almost 1 million bushels of grain exports are potentially lost along with export potential for many other agricultural products," the group noted, adding that stopping food trading to Mexico will bring inflation and food insecurity.

"Our understanding is that it is possible for CBP to operate a rail crossing with as few as five employees, and we strongly urge you to allocate CBP staff to the international rail crossings to allow products to resume flowing," the letter stated.

The groups said that these rail operations are used to export nearly two-thirds of all U.S. agricultural to Mexico, noting that it was the second-largest export market in 2022 with $28.5 billion in sales.

"Each additional day of closures results in rail carriers having to idle trains or reroute them in illogical ways to try and serve customers, all of which adds friction within the supply chain," the groups explained. "We are aware of grain trains sitting at origin in at least six states that are unable to move, and we expect this number to grow."

The groups also shared that Mexico customers are looking for other countries, if the United States is not able to provide a resilient and reliable supply chain.

Customs and Border Protection suspended the two rail operations in Eagle Pass and El Paso on Dec. 17 in the wake of a continued surge in migrant smuggling via freight trains. This action was taken in collaboration with Mexican authorities.

Last month, federal forces in Mexico rescued seven immigration agents, who were abducted, beaten up, and threatened to be killed by suspected drug cartel gunmen. The abduction took place as many migrants were coming to the United States via Mexico due to economic and political crises in their home countries.

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