In letter to DHS secretary, trade group says disruptions have far-reaching negative consequences, undermine binational relationship

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2023) – In a letter sent Thursday to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Border Trade Alliance urged the secretary to quickly open a dialogue with his counterpart in Mexico to address the worsening situation at the United States-Mexico border, where a recent surge of migrants has resulted in closures of critical trade arteries.

“The BTA is deeply concerned that cross-border trade and commerce will be severely delayed unless both governments come together to restore order and security at the border,” BTA President Ms. Britton Mullen said. “Closures of international bridges and ports of entry result in tremendous economic harm to businesses on both sides of the border and degrade the quality of life throughout the region.”

Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday closed cargo operations at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso to process migrants, and closed an international bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas due to an influx of migrants. CBP last week temporarily closed a pedestrian crossing at San Ysidro south of San Diego.

“We cannot allow bridge and port closures to become a regular occurrence at one of the world’s most important borders for international trade,” Mullen said. “On multiple occasions we’ve urged DHS not to close crossings. Action and cooperation between the two countries is required now to ensure our shared border is safe, secure, and can process trade and travel in an efficient and orderly manner.”

Mexico this summer ranked as the U.S.’ top trade partner. (Source:

The text of the BTA’s letter follows:

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

On behalf of the Border Trade Alliance, we write to urge you to quickly collaborate with your counterpart in Mexico to seek a solution to the ongoing disruptions at the United States-Mexico border caused by recent migrant surges that are placing significant strain on staff resources and infrastructure.

The BTA, an organization dedicated to promoting and facilitating cross-border trade between the United States and Mexico, recognizes the critical importance of maintaining a secure, orderly, and efficient border. However, the current situation is a matter of grave concern as the disruptions are having far-reaching negative consequences on binational trade, which has long been a cornerstone of our economic prosperity and a testament to our strong partnership with Mexico.

As you know, cargo operations at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, Texas have been closed to accommodate migrant processing, and migrant surges have prompted a closure at an Eagle Pass, Texas international bridge, raising concerns of similar service interruptions at international bridges and ports of entry border wide. The BTA reiterates its position that bridge and port of entry closures should be avoided at all costs. Such actions lead to shipping delays, increased costs, and an overall degradation of the powerful binational trade relationship between our two nations.

Furthermore, recent technical breakdowns in Mexico’s ability to process trade have only exacerbated the concerns of the cross-border trade community. We would urge binational consultations should this problem continue.

The disruptions are felt deeply by businesses, workers, and communities on both sides of the border, and they threaten the livelihoods of countless individuals who rely on the efficient movement of goods and services. The types of goods run the gamut, from automotives to electronics to consumable food and agriculture goods, in which the U.S. and Mexico each week trade in the billions of dollars. Any disruption harms U.S. farmers, produce distributors, and numerous small businesses.

We acknowledge the complexities of addressing the migration challenges faced at the border, and we appreciate the efforts made by DHS to address these issues in a humane manner. However, we believe that it is crucial to engage in a constructive dialogue concurrently and swiftly with your counterparts in Mexico to find a collaborative solution that ensures the orderly flow of both people and goods across the border.

The BTA stands ready to support your efforts however possible to achieve a resolution to the current border disruptions that maintains the flow of trade and commerce that is essential to the prosperity of our nations.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent and critical matter. We look forward to the opportunity to engage in discussions with you and contribute to a lasting solution that benefits both countries.


Lance Jungmeyer                                        Britton Mullen
Chairman                                                      President


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Since 1986, the BTA has served as a grassroots, non-profit organization that provides a forum for discussion and advocacy on issues pertaining to border development and quality of life and trade in the Americas. A network of public and private sector representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada, BTA’s core values include a commitment to improving the quality of life of border communities through trade and commerce. The BTA is online at and @borderalliance.