Reduced staff at international bridges to help with the influx of undocumented migrants in the U.S. has caused a backlog on business.
“People crossing come to shop and visit,” Josue Garcia, Cameron County Bridge Director, said. “Then we have the commercial end, we had tractor trailers that were waiting in line for long periods of time. Several inquests that were done and instead of making two or three trips, they were making one trip,”
Garcia says during the month of April, the number of crossings dropped significantly between 25 to 27 percent.
A report published by the Perryman Group states that slowdowns at the international bridges can cost the state $32 billion in gross domestic product.
UTRGV Economics Professor Ismael Delgado agrees with the findings.
“There’s an impact to the waiting that sometimes people forget to put a dollar value to it. Sometimes we think in terms of casual from the financial perspective, but we forget the dollar value with the opportunity cost. The time waiting to take place, there’s a cost to your time,” Delgado said.
According to the report, the Texas southern border is hit hard with the border shutdown since the state is responsible for 35 percent of its trade with Mexico. Which is why Delgado says it’s important to trim those wait times sooner rather than later.
“The only thing we could do is prepare the best, that we can and try to overcome some of these challenges and mitigate some of these risks that we have no control,” Delgado said.
Garcia says in just this last week wait times have started to decrease. Adding that they will continue to move forward to best assist those crossing.