Mexican truckers are planning to expand their current protest of newly instated inspection processes to include all ports of entry between the US and Mexico.
The protests began earlier this week at the Pharr Bridge connecting Reynosa, Mexico to Pharr, Texas. Since then, truckers have been blocking traffic into the state of Texas at Pharr, Hidalgo, Ysleta, and Bridge of the Americas port of entries – and they say their blockades will continue, reported Texas Public Radio.
“Currently, protests being conducted in Mexico blocking access to the bridge, purportedly over these Texas DPS inspections, have reduced commercial traffic by 100%” said Customs and Border Patrol of the protests in Pharr and Hidalgo. Commercial traffic at the Ysleta and Bridge of the Americas has dropped by 50% and 30% respectively. In addition, all northbound traffic has been blocked at the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios.
“The drivers doing this say they’ve blocked off some bridges to influence officials, but their peers are only going around through the open ones into the U.S. So they’re going to start closing all the bridges now,” said truck driver Santos Alvarado from the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on the U.S. side.
“They’re angry because not all of us have supported them,” said Alvarado. “They’ve already closed the Progreso bridge. I was barely able to cross there just now. They’re going to close Progreso, Los Indios, and Anzalduas today so no one can get out,” he said on Wednesday, April 12th.
“Trucks are facing lengthy delays along the Texas-Mexico border, with wait times at some border crossings exceeding five hours and commercial traffic dropping by as much as 60 percent,” said the Department of Homeland Security in a release. “The longer than average wait times – and the subsequent supply chain disruptions – are unrelated to CBP screening activities and are due to additional and unnecessary inspections being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) at the order of the Governor of Texas.”
Multiple border trade groups have sent letters to Governor Abbott in response to the change.
“Adding an additional Texas DPS inspection once trucks have crossed the border is causing serious delays with no commensurate increase in border safety,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in a letter to Abbott. “Unfortunately, delays from DPS inspections mean that up to 80% of perishable fruits and vegetables have been unable to cross daily. This is causing losses of millions of dollars a day for employers and employees who have been idled.”