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The National Guard Is Heading To The US-Mexico Border To Help Move Trucks Through

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Speaker 1: 00:00 More National Guard troops are headed to the US Mexico border, a thousand troops from Texas. We'll try to address one of the unintended results of president Trump's immigration crackdown traffic jams. Trekkers say it can take hours to cross the border and get through u s customs from far Texas. Carson frame reports for the American Home Front project.

Speaker 2: 00:23 Every day more than 40,000 commercial trucks cross over the Pharr international bridge carrying things like fruits, vegetables, and machine parts. Once the truck's reached the u s they spill out into an intersection with two gas stations or many go to refuel. Some have been idling on the three mile long bridge for hours waiting for customs officials to scan and approve their loads. Christiane Davila stands in the shade pumping diesel fuel into his tank today. He crossed the border with a load of mangoes, chilies, cucumbers, and squash. He says he can only make one trip per day because the wait times fluctuates so much.

Speaker 3: 01:01 Well [inaudible] sometimes see six hours depending on the line. Sometimes we get in line at night again and we get here at 6:00 PM four or 5:00 PM depending on the lions. Eight o'clock. Yeah, it's a really long time. There's not enough time for another trip across. In late March, customs and border protection began pulling customs agents away from their regular jobs at ports of entry and reassign them to process migrants at the border. [inaudible] and the migrant situation began in the began closing lanes. It became worse, but it's getting bad. I crossed over today in less than an hour, CBP has

Speaker 4: 01:35 since moved some personnel back to customs processing at the ports. That's improved wait times somewhat, but all along the border companies are still concerned. Staffing remains an issue and business leaders worry about a possible repeat of the situation. This spring when president Trump's threats of tariffs led to a surge of Mexican imports that made traffic even worse. Rufus [inaudible] is president of the National Foreign Trade Council.

Speaker 5: 01:58 The rates have definitely gotten much longer since many of these policy changes were put into place. These delays are lost. Money lost time. Um, very often it impacts their bottom line. It also impacts the workers in those, in those production fills Saudis and of course it impacts American consumers because it raises their costs.

Speaker 4: 02:21 In late June, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced the deployment of National Guard troops to ports of entry. He said they'll help support commercial trade.

Speaker 6: 02:29 They will be working, uh, in assisting border patrol at ports of entry, uh, to facilitate commercial traffic coming in as well as any other traffic that may be coming across the border. So they, they will, they will be performing basically, uh, the functions that border patrol performs collaboratively with the border patrol.

Speaker 4: 02:49 Neither Governor Abbott's office, the Texas military department nor CVP, responded to requests for clarification about what exactly the guard troops will be doing. CBP did brief some business leaders who do cross border shipping and logistics work. Tony Rivera is the general manager of Parker and company, a customs brokerage agency. He says, they were told that the national guard would not be processing shipments. They're here on a security function. That's what we were told later, that they're not here to be able to do law enforcement. They're here to secure our borders, to be able to also provide security for customs and for border patrol. Revera says he welcomes additional security at the ports and along the border generally, but he says to reduce the delays, customs needs trained officers, people who know how to process goods and handle manifest as a brokerage community, we need people that are experienced, that are trained to be able to process customs, documentation, understand the business, understand the urgencies. It takes a while to get there. Industry leaders say there would be a need for more customs officers even without the migrant situation, because trade between the U s and Mexico is expanding now with some truckers saying the immigration crackdown has made the delays worse. It's unclear how much the national guard deployment will improve things in Pharr, Texas. I'm Carson frame and this story was produced by the American Home Front project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting.

Speaker 7: 04:22 Okay.

A thousand National Guard troops from Texas will try to address one of the unintended results of President Trump’s immigration crackdown — traffic jams that are slowing international commerce.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.