(Daily Signal)—Following a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from Sen. Ted Cruz, Customs and Border Protection announced Friday that two railroad crossings in Texas border communities are reopening after temporarily being closed to allow personnel to help process illegal aliens.
“Beginning December 22, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, CBP’s Office of Field Operations will resume operations at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas,” CBP announced Friday.
The announcement came after Cruz sent a letter to Mayorkas on Thursday demanding answers after the federal government closed the two railroad crossings. The temporary closures were intended to free additional customs personnel to help Border Patrol agents process the thousands of illegal aliens crossing the southern border daily.
“Accordingly, by shutting down legal border crossings to accommodate the surge of illegal aliens flooding the border at Eagle Pass, you have created a national security threat of the highest degree,” Cruz, R-Texas, wrote to Mayorkas in the letter shared exclusively with The Daily Signal.
“You are also signaling to the world that the United States government—and certainly your department—will put the interests of foreign citizens over the needs of American people and businesses,” Cruz said.
Amid record-high border crossings, CBP announced Sunday that starting Monday morning, the international railway crossings in Eagle Pass and El Paso would be temporarily closed.
“CBP is continuing to surge all available resources to safely process migrants in response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border,” CBP said in a statement Sunday explaining the reason for the closures, adding:
After observing a recent resurgence of smuggling organizations moving migrants through Mexico via freight trains, CBP is taking additional actions to surge personnel and address this concerning development, including in partnership with Mexican authorities.
Fox News recently reported images of thousands of migrants lining railroad tracks in Piedras Negras, Mexico, hoping to jump aboard the train bound for the U.S.
Because the two railway crossing “functions as a key rail link between the U.S. and Mexico,” Cruz warned, “hundreds of thousands of tons of customer freight that cross this junction daily are now at risk of being indefinitely stalled.”
“Already, a major rail carrier has announced that it will have to embargo the movement of goods on 60 trains, or nearly 4,500 rail cars,” the Texas senator wrote.
“Each day that these ports of entries are closed has systemwide impacts on the transportation network that could last for months,” Cruz said. “For the foregoing reasons, these bridge closures result in immeasurable negative impact on domestic production and international trade, causing production shutdowns, product and food shortages for Americans, and severe economic damage to our country.”
Before CBP announced it was reopening the two crossings, Cruz demanded answers to nine questions related to the railway closings at the border, including who made the decision to close the ports, what criteria were used to determine that the two crossings needed to be closed, and why Mayorkas is “prioritizing the processing of illegal aliens over keeping our ports of entry open.”
While the two railway crossings have reopened, CBP says vehicular processing “remains suspended at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1. In San Diego, California, San Ysidro’s Pedestrian West operations remain suspended. In Lukeville, Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry operations remain suspended. In Nogales, Arizona, the Morely Gate border crossing operations remain suspended.”
CBP witnessed record encounter numbers of illegal immigrants along the southern border this week, with a combined nearly 27,000 on Monday and Tuesday and an additional 12,000 reported Wednesday.
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Cruz had given Mayorkas until Friday to respond to his questions. According to Cruz’s office, the senator had not received a reply as of the time this report was published.