OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific has filed a motion for summary judgment in its July 2008 lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fines and seizures of rail cars at the Mexican border.
In the lawsuit, UP contends that federal laws designed to prevent airlines and ocean ship operators from allowing drugs to be smuggled aboard their planes and ships do not apply to the railroad, because UP does not operate or have any control over the Mexican trains on which drugs have been smuggled. UP had hoped to resolve this dispute by settlement; however, discussions deteriorated because the Department of Justice demanded substantial penalties from UP – penalties that are without merit and would not help prevent drug smuggling.
UP contends it did nothing wrong and the law (Tariff Act of 1930) does not apply to this situation. UP does not believe that federal law can nor should require the company to send unarmed personnel into Mexico to battle Mexican drug cartels that maliciously murder and wage a war against the Mexican military.
Despite this legal dispute, UP continues to maintain a cooperative and collaborative working relationship with CBP.
“The law requires UP to act on only what we can control. We expect the court will agree that it is impossible for UP to prevent drugs from being smuggled onto Mexican trains. UP does not take control of a train until after a Mexican railroad delivers it to CBP, which first inspects the train and then releases it to UP,” said Bob Grimaila, vice president Safety, Security and Environment. “Our actions should be applauded, not punished. Over the last decade, the company has provided more than $72.5 million of support in the form of facilities, observation towers, training, equipment and other assistance to help protect the U.S. border and UP and CBP officers, and prevent drug smuggling. This does not take into account our police officers and K-9 patrol, resources which amount to an additional $3.6 million annually.”