SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Border Report) — After nearly a month closure due to a migrant surge in Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they plan to reopen Bridge 1 to vehicular traffic on Monday.
CBP officials late Sunday announced that officers would “resume vehicle processing operations at Bridge 1 in Eagle Pass, Texas,” a CBP official said.
But agency officials did not promise it would remain open if additional waves of migrants cross the Rio Grande from Piedras Negras, Mexico.
“CBP will continue to assess operations and plans to execute contingency measures to support and prioritize our border security mission. Should operational changes become necessary, stakeholders will be provided updates to any changes in our security and operational posture,” the CBP official said.
Texas state Rep. Eddie Morales Jr., D-Eagle Pass, told Border Report late Sunday that he is relieved that both international bridges should be open to traffic.
“Yes, very much. We sent that letter supporting the city’s request,” he said.
Last week, Morales sent a letter to the CBP port director asking that Bridge 1 be reopened.
Bridge 1 was closed to vehicular traffic in September so that CBP officers could assist Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement who were processing thousands of migrants per day after they crossed illegally into Eagle Pass. A mobile processing facility was set up under Bridge II, which is also known as the Camino Real International Bridge.
The migrant surge also briefly stopped train traffic to the region for a while, but that resumed a couple of weeks ago.
Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas Jr., said at least $500,000 was lost in trade and cargo traffic since the bridge shutdown began on Sept. 20.
Compounding the economic losses were delays caused by mandatory commercial truck inspections by Texas DPS officials at Bridge 2, the only open bridge that has serviced the region. Those inspections were stopped after Mexico’s president complained last week.
However, DPS inspections began this weekend in Laredo, at the Colombia Solidarity Bridge, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said. Laredo is a three-hour drive south of Eagle Pass.
Cuellar opposes the inspections and worries it will affect trade and commerce in Laredo.
“I do not agree with this decision. The inspections do nothing for border security as they are solely focused on mechanical functions, such as checking tire pressure and windshield wipers. I do not blame the men and women of DPS for this as they are carrying out orders from their leadership,” Cuellar said. “This is a waste of taxpayer dollars that will only hurt Laredo’s economy. I ask that the state stop interfering with the nation’s largest inland port of entry in Laredo.
One-third of all trade with Mexico crosses in Laredo — that’s over 5.4 million trucks per year, Cuellar says.
DPS inspections are being carried out as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star — a $10 billion state-funded border security initiative.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.