Truck drivers from Mexico continued with their protests at the U.S. border, blockading bridges for a second day on April 12 after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to increase vehicle inspections caused long traffic snarls.
The government of Mexico announced its displeasure at the new rules, warning that around two-thirds of normal trade between the two sides was being held up, resulting in the loss of “significant revenue” for Mexican and American businesses. At one bridge connecting Reynosa, Mexico, with Pharr, Texas, truckers parked their vehicles on the Mexican side and held barbecues at the spot.
The Pharr bridge typically sees around 3,000 trucks pass through daily and is the largest land port for food produce entering the United States. Roughly two-thirds of produce sold in Texas comes from Mexico.
“We’re living through a nightmare, and we’re already suffering through a very delicate supply chain from the pandemic and to try to regrow the business,” Arevalo said.
Abbott had ordered vehicle inspections to uncover the smuggling of people and contraband by criminal cartels. However, traffic delays have attracted criticism from several quarters, including from his own Republican Party members.
Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner, called the new rules, “political theater,” and asked Abbott to halt the policy. Inspections are killing the economy, exacerbating strained supply chains, and creating “untold losses” for Texas businesses, he said in a letter to the governor. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) called Abbott’s decision “unnecessary.”
According to John Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association which represents 1,000 members, his phone has been ringing off the hook since April 7 following Abbott’s orders.
Dante Galeazzi, CEO and president of the Texas International Produce Association, also sent a letter to the governor, requesting Abbott to modify the enforcement action. He foresees companies shifting business to Arizona or New Mexico due to the new rule.
“We are willing to make a sacrifice because we understand the predicament our country is in, our sovereignty is at stake and we see that they are finding illegal immigrants on 53-foot vans and these people need to know that this is not acceptable behavior.”