Biden Goes Off Track Again: Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?
Two rail bridges between Mexico and Texas are being closed by the U.S. Border Patrol to try to stem a resurgence in train travel by migrants.
Spans into El Paso and Eagle Pass were shut down Monday in response to rising numbers of illegal entries into this country. Migrant encounters across the entire southern border topped 10,000 last Tuesday, down just slightly from the record 12,000 seen in one day the week before.
But two affected railroad operators suggested that the Biden administration’s move was ham-handed, and they called for immediate re-opening.
“These locations handle roughly 45 percent of goods critical to the U.S. economy, and there isn’t enough capacity at our other four gateways to reroute them,” according to a Union Pacific (UP) statement. UP said nearly 10,000 of its railcars were being held on both sides of the border.
Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) added, “We have a robust and thorough security program to prevent contraband or migrants from entering the U.S. That includes our police force, inspection technologies and our partnership with federal agencies. Through our efforts, we have experienced very few people attempting to cross the border on trains at both ports of entry.”
The Association of American Railroads, an industry trade group, warned that the stoppage would have a wide-ranging negative impact.
“Combined, these two carriers securely operate 24 trains daily at these crossings, moving agricultural products, automotive parts, finished vehicles, chemicals, consumer goods and more to customers spanning the continent. But ultimately, every railroad is affected by this sudden shutdown of operations since all carriers interchange goods across the North American rail network.”
Amid its ongoing failure to secure the border, the Biden administration said the rail closures were needed because of a shortage of Border Patrol personnel – as if en-masse illegal crossings were some unexpected, spur-of-the-moment event.
UP officials said they were told that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was redeploying “approximately five of its agents” to work with the railroad’s police department and train crews. Wow, all of five agents?
In September, the Biden administration briefly halted rail freight traffic at El Paso and Eagle Pass after Mexican railway operator Ferromex (FXE) temporarily halted 60 trains on south-north routes due to migrants climbing aboard railcars, suffering injuries and fatalities.
There can be no doubt that the border, and Eagle Pass in particular, is a mess. And Mexican freight trains have been a factor in transporting migrants up to the border. None of this is new. But blockading legal commerce into this country, and crippling sectors of the U.S. economy in the process, is as counter-productive as swinging an ax at a swarm of flies. In effect, this administration is recklessly sacrificing the critical flow of goods to advance an open-borders agenda that enables and profits human traffickers.
Proper Border Patrol staffing and enforcement, as well as swift removal of inadmissible aliens, can stop illegal migration while keeping American business on track.