April 3, 2019
By Jose Luis Gonzalez
CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday there were no “serious problems” at the U.S.-Mexico border after commercial traffic slowed at several crossings.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is in constant communication with U.S. authorities to avoid conflict and to keep the border open, Lopez Obrador told reporters at his regular morning news conference.
“It’s not in anyone’s interest to close the border,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to close the U.S. southern border to fight illegal immigration, despite pressure from companies worried that a shutdown would hurt supply chains and $1.7 billion in daily trade.
A transfer of U.S. border agents to immigration duties has slowed commercial traffic at three crossings, with gridlock in El Paso extending for hours.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Tuesday it would suspend cargo operations every Saturday at one of its crossing points in El Paso until it has enough staff to operate fully, Mexican media reported.
On Wednesday, some, but not all, lanes were open to commercial traffic at El Paso, Laredo and Otay Mesa. The longest wait stretched up to three hours at a section of the El Paso crossing, according to CBP. In Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, lines of trucks were longer than usual, according to a Reuters witness.
(Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom and Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dave Graham and James Dalgleish)