Shipments of fresh produce from Mexico into the U.S. are likely to be impacted by the U.S. reassignment of up to 750 border guards to assist in processing migrant crossings along the southern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner Kevin McAleenan made the announcement March 27, 2019, saying that importers and exporters should expect to see “a slowdown in the processing of trade.” CBP will be forced to close some processing lanes, potentially in the ports of El Paso, Laredo, Tucson and San Diego. Officials at Nogales, Arizona have also announced a closure of commercial border traffic on Sundays.
The United Fresh Produce Association says that these steps will cause significant harm to growers, wholesale distributors, transportation companies, grocery stores, restaurants and most importantly, American consumers. If these actions are implemented, millions of dollars in economic losses can be expected while increasing costs to consumers across North America.
The San Diego Association of Governments and California Department of Transportation have indicated that even an extra 15 minutes of wait time could cause as much as $1 billion in lost productivity and 134,000 lost in jobs annually.