Texas governor’s new restrictions and protests erase big rigs at main border crossing
PHARR, Texas — American truckers have been temporarily blocked from crossing a major US-Mexico border crossing in Texas after protests over the governor’s new border restrictions.
Since Monday, there has been “no movement south by U.S. carriers” because Mexican truckers are blocking the way, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official who spoke with CNN.
The protests at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which normally handles about 3,000 trucks a day, follow a decision by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office to improve safety inspections at state border ports by response to the Biden administration’s plans to end pandemic-related restrictions at the border. There were also protest-related blockages at the Ysleta/Zaragoza Bridge border crossing in El Paso, Texas.
Major trade groups say border inspections by Texas are redundant.
Abbott’s office said the new border rules are intended to “reduce the flow of drugs, human traffickers, illegal immigrants, weapons and other contraband into Texas” and include “enhanced security inspections” of commercial vehicles entering the United States through Texas ports of entry. .
Critics say the new measures are unnecessary and increase wait times to cross the border.
Since Sunday, the Texas Department of Public Safety has inspected 2,685 commercial vehicles at select ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border and taken 646 out of service for “serious security violations,” including faulty brakes, tires and lighting, the agency mentioned.
“The addition of additional Texas DPS inspection once trucks have crossed the border results in serious delays without a commensurate increase in border security,” Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
“More than $9 billion worth of goods are traded through Texas,” he wrote, adding that the recently announced border inspection policy has “severely impacted trade” across the state.
The President of the Border Trade Alliance released a statement on Sunday warning that the Lone Star State’s new policy could eventually lead to higher prices for consumer goods. The non-profit organization represents a network of more than 4.2 million public and private sector representatives affected by trade relations between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
“We oppose any state-level action that results in an inspection process that duplicates inspections already performed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” Britton Mullen said in the statement.
“While border states like Texas have an important role to play in ensuring truck safety and code compliance, the state should work in conjunction with CBP, not embark on a new inspection program. which will slow the movement of freight, which will only exacerbate the country’s supply chain crisis and has put even more upward pressure on consumer prices.
The City of Pharr released a state statement around 3 p.m. Monday saying the Pharr International Bridge was “ready and open for business.” However, Pharr police officers remained at the foot of the bridge blocking all southbound traffic at 4 p.m. Monday, and no commercial traffic was heading north, according to Border Report.
“We are aware of the situation in Mexico which is currently impeding trade flow to the United States. We will continue to closely monitor these ongoing events and work with the relevant authorities as necessary,” reads the statement from the city of Pharr.
According to the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development, in 2021, nearly $442 billion in trade passed through Texas ports of entry.
And more than 65% of all products in the United States pass through Pharr’s international bridge, officials said.
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