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Border agency closes Nogales port of entry to Sunday commercial traffic

(Getty Images File Photo)

PHOENIX — To the dismay of the produce industry, Customs and Border Protection is closing one Arizona port of entry to commercial truck traffic on Sundays.

The agency’s Tucson office announced the policy change for the Nogales border crossing last week, citing the need to redeploy resources to deal with humanitarian and security issues along the border.

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday the move will be bad for business just as shipments from Sonora, Mexico, into Arizona are ramping up.

“Having Sunday crossings available enables us to bring the trucks in, offload that produce [and] get the trucks back to Mexico so they can be reloaded and be set back up,” he said.

“It’s a fairly short supply train, and we like to be able to move those quickly.”

Jungmeyer said the Sunday closures, which go into effect this weekend, will limit the availability of items that come from Sonora, including squash, grapes, watermelons, green beans and tomatoes.

“For the trucks that come into the state and pick up fresh produce and deliver it all around the country, if they don’t have a reason to come here and pick up, then that’s less economic activity that’s going on here,” he said.

“I don’t believe that not having Sundays is going to cause a massive price increase for consumers. It’s going to harm the companies that are involved in this.”

With agents being moved to other points along the border, Jungmeyer said he expects commercial truck processing in Nogales to take longer on the six days it remains open.

The Customs and Border Protection announcement said that with 750 officers being redeployed, ports have to adjust their workforce and limit and discontinue some services.

Last week, President Trump said he might completely seal the southern U.S. border, but he appears to have eased up on that threat.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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