Border rail crossings critical for American grain traffic to Mexico remained closed for a second straight day Tuesday as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials continued to divert attention to processing the surge of migrants. 

CBP on Monday morning suspended operations at the Eagle Pass and El Paso crossings on the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico.

The National Grain and Feed Association, the North America Export Grain Association, and the American Association of Railroads have called CBP to immediately reopen the border. NGFA and NAEGA cited the impact the closures would have on shipments of grain and oilseeds. 

A CBP spokesperson told Agri-Pulse the agency had no news Tuesday when asked about plans to reopen operations. In a statement Sunday announcing the closures, CBP said it would “continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation.”

NGFA and NAEGA said in a joint statement, “The North American market and grain trade supply chain are deeply intertwined. The closure of these two crossings is impacting the flow of grain and oilseeds for both human and livestock feed to one of the United States most important export markets and trading partners.”

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Max Fisher, chief economist for NGFA, told Agri-Pulse nearly 1 million bushels of U.S. grain is affected each day the crossings are closed; the two crossings account for about one-third of U.S. grain shipments to Mexico. Other products affected by the closures include dried distillers grain, soybean meal, corn syrup and dry beans, he said. 

The Union Pacific and BNSF combined operate 24 trains daily at the crossings, according to the American Association of Railroads. The cargo includes auto parts, finished vehicles, chemicals, consumer goods and farm commodities. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson, a South Dakota Republican who sits on the House Agriculture and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, raised concerns Tuesday about the closures, citing news that BNSF was staging trains as far away as Minnesota to prevent freight being stuck at the border. 

“Suspending rail operations at the border will create supply chain chaos across America, just in time for Christmas,” Johnson said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. 

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