Senators Introduce Freight Border Bill

Commercial Corridors Continue to Operate
CBP checking migrants
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents check migrants as they board a bus for transport at the U.S.-Mexico border in Lukeville, Ariz. (Eric Thayer/Bloomberg News)

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Legislation meant to ensure border security staff remain at commercial ports of entry was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.

The Keeping International Land Ports of Entry Open Act would seek to prohibit the Biden administration from reassigning U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel processing cargo at ports of entry to attend to migrants on the southern border.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was introduced after the Senate opted not to consider a Republican-led comprehensive immigration bill.

“Joe Biden is harming American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, truckers and consumers by prioritizing welcoming illegal aliens over facilitating lawful commerce,” Cruz said Feb. 9. “Joe Biden’s policy of transferring [Customs and Border Protection] agents from facilitating commercial border crossings to instead welcoming in illegal aliens has caused millions of dollars of economic damage.

“My bill ensures that lawful commerce will continue to invest in the Texas economy by prohibiting the Biden administration [from] closing ports of entry on the southern border except in limited circumstances, such as physically assisting Border Patrol in detentions.”

The Texas Republican is ranking member on the Commerce Committee on freight policy.

According to background information the sponsors provided, the bill includes a “built-in accountability mechanism and requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to notify the House, Senate and the American people what exception applies if he seeks to relocate staff and close a port of entry.”

Other bill sponsors include Republican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Mike Lee of Utah.

“The Biden administration’s deliberate refusal to enforce the border isn’t just incompetence — it’s a blatant disregard for Americans’ safety. Their attempts to obscure the magnitude of this border invasion are only adding insult to injury and causing significant economic damage,” Lee said. “Just before Christmas last year, President Biden closed off rail operations into the United States at various points of entry — hurting businesses and Americans — in order to process more illegal aliens through the border. Sen. Cruz’s bill is a necessary countermeasure to hold this administration accountable for their disastrous policies and prevent them from inflicting even more damage on our country.”

The legislation was referred to a committee of jurisdiction. Its consideration has not been scheduled. Groups endorsing Cruz’s bill include the Association of American Railroads, the National Grain and Feed Association and American Trucking Associations.

Edwin Gilroy


“Millions of American jobs depend on trucks to seamlessly deliver cargo between the United States and its most important trading partners, Mexico and Canada. That’s why the efficient processing of this freight at all land ports of entry is critical to the continuity of our supply chain and our economy,” Ed Gilroy, ATA’s chief advocacy and public affairs officer, said in a statement that accompanied the bill’s introduction.

“Reducing staffing at checkpoints by reassigning overworked CBP officers does not solve the underlying problems at the border; it simply creates new ones,” he added. “We support Sen. Cruz’s effort to help ensure that cross-border trade remains a priority and that CBP retains the resources necessary to facilitate the flow of international commerce.”

Repurposing federal employees designated to keep trade flowing at our borders for the purpose of processing migrants will only exacerbate congestion at our border.

Texas Trucking Association President John Esparza

John Esparza

Texas Trucking Association President John Esparza said, “We cannot lose sight of the fact that international trade is and will continue to be a critical component of the Texas economy well into the future. Repurposing federal employees designated to keep trade flowing at our borders for the purpose of processing migrants will only exacerbate congestion at our border. This ultimately disrupts our supply chains in a manner that everyday Texas will feel in their pocketbooks.”

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