The Pharr International Bridge did not open to traffic on Monday as truckers blocked access in protest of new cross-border inspection rules.
Drivers in Mexico blocked access to the bridge from Reynosa, Mexico into Texas on Monday, April 11th, prompting officers to close the southbound lanes from Texas into Reynosa. Although the bridge typically opens at 6 a.m. on Mondays, the protest forced traffic to come to a halt, and the bridge was not opened at all.
Everything Lubbock reports that the drivers blocking to bridge are protesting Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s announcement late last week notifying drivers that all commercial traffic entering Texas from Mexico will now be subject to “enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross points of entry into Texas.” This new inspection will be conducted in addition to the typical federal inspection at the port of entry.
Increased wait times between 10 and 20 hours have already been felt by truckers entering the country, a fact which Governor Abbott admitted would be a result of the new inspections during a news conference.
“Now I know in advance this is going to dramatically slow traffic from Mexico into Texas,” he said at the conference.
Abbot says that the new inspections are in response to the Biden Administration’s plans to revoke Title 42 rules at the end of May. Title 42 allowed US officials to send Mexican citizens seeking asylum back to Mexico in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Abbot says that, with the rule revoked, approximately 18,000 undocumented immigrants will begin attempts to cross the border into the US each day.
“A zero tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles for smuggling migrants across the border is being implemented immediately. Cartels use vehicles — many of them dangerous commercial trucks — to smuggle immigrants, deadly fentanyl, and other illegal cargo into Texas and onto roadways,” Abbot said.