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Border Brouhaha Has Big Rig Truckers Losing Days at a Time

Truckers are the lifeblood of America, bringing us everything from medicine to milk, and there will be consequences to these delays.

Big-rig, over the road truckers hold a very special place in American folklore, and there’s a good reason for it.

These tireless men and women are the modern day cowboys, wrangling all manner of goods from sea to shining sea.  In place of their trusty steed, a complicated gearbox and some pedals.  Instead of wild nights out on the prairie, they bunk up at any number of motels, truck stops, or exit ramps.  What remains the same between these cultural cousins is a single, divine love of the reward that hard work is, in and of itself.

For these professionals pedal pushers, nothing is more precious than time.  That’s why, as the battle over America’s border continues to grow, so too do the headaches of our 21st century cowboys.

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To deal with a surge of migrating Central American families, the Trump administration has reassigned so many inspectors from U.S.-Mexico border crossings that truckers are waiting in line for hours and sometimes days to get shipments to the United States.

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Truckers have been sleeping in their vehicles to hold spots in line in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city brought in portable toilets, and an engine oil company hired models in skin-tight clothing to hand out burritos and bottled water to idled drivers.

“My family doesn’t recognize me at home anymore,” Jaime Monroy, a trucker who lives in Ciudad Juarez, said after sleeping overnight in his cabin with a truck full of wooden furniture. “I leave at 3 in the morning and come back at 10 at night.”

These delays aren’t isolated annoyances for those living and working on the border either.

Business leaders are starting to lose patience as they struggle to get products to American grocery stores, manufacturers and construction sites.

“This is a systemwide issue,” said Paola Avila, chairwoman of the Border Trade Alliance, a group that advocates for cross-border commerce. All along the 2,000-mile border, wait times have increased. “There’s no point in redirecting commerce elsewhere. There’s no solution. Everyone’s feeling this.”

President Trump has repeatedly called for strict immigration reform in recent months, and this week forced the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over her inability or unwillingness to comply with some of his more stern requests.

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