Truck processing halted on Sundays, produce companies feeling the effects

Impact of a border closure

NOGALES, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Day after day, hundreds of trucks cross Arizona’s border with Mexico packed full of fresh produce.

But now the flow of fresh fruit and vegetables could be at risk.

President Trump is giving Mexico one week to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. or else he’ll close off the border.

The closing of the southern border with Mexico would potentially have a huge impact on travel and trade.

Douglas, Naco, Nogales, Sasabe, Lukeville and San Luis make up the ports of entry on the Arizona-Mexico border.

Approximately 400,000 trucks pass through the ports between Arizona and Mexico each year.

In 2018, they transported more than $11 billion in U.S. goods to Mexico.

When it comes to imports, Arizona ports of entry cleared more than $16 billion in goods coming from Mexico.

Guillermo Martinez is the manager of Wilson Produce in Nogales and receives all of his produce from Mexico. On Friday, Martinez, and other carriers, shippers, brokers, and importers received a note from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stating trucks would no longer be processed on Sunday.

The note reads in part:

"This bulletin serves as notice that March 31, 2019 will be the last day of Sunday service at the Mariposa Commercial Facility.....Customs and Border Protection is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest border.....To combat this surge, 750 Customs and Border Protection officers will be deployed to areas being severely affected.

To lessen the impact of this deployment on legitimate trade and travel, ports are realigning their workforce and limiting or discontinuing some services. CBP will continue to monitor the situation and strive to restore services as soon as operationally possible."

“You take an operating day from the seven-day week especially during the peak season, it definitely puts a lot of strain on the operation.” said Martinez.

And the stress continues to pile on now that President Trump is threatening to close the border completely.

"If we saw a shutdown as the President has discussed we would see layoffs probably the next day.” said Lance Jungmeyer, the President of the Fresh Produce Association

The ripple effect of a border shut down would not only be felt in Mexico.

Jungmeyer said Arizona would be hurt in the process as well.

"We rely on the produce to come in, be offloaded, and be sold. And if there’s no produce here there’s no orders coming in and there’s no jobs and this would devastate this economy here.”

According to Jungmeyer, 4,000 jobs would be in jeopardy between Mexico and the U.S. combined.

“We’re already in one of the poorest counties in all of Arizona and we need these jobs here.” said Jungmeyer.

That leaves Martinez to not only worry about his business, but his employees as well.

"So that’s just basically a backlog effect that prevents more sales, or like Lance said it prevents people from putting food on the table.

What has these produce companies even more upset is that other states like California and Texas are still operating on a seven-day schedule.

The CBP release does say they are going to continue to monitor the situation, meaning that possibly Sunday services could return in the future.

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