Mexican truckers have temporarily blocked the US point-of-entry in protest of new border inspection regulation slapped on commercial vehicles by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Mexican truck drivers blocked the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on Monday for the fifth day in a row and a similar protest affected traffic into and out of El Paso.
US Customs and Border Protection official confirmed commercial traffic at the major US-Mexico land entry port was “halted temporarily” due to an ongoing protest by truckers on the Mexican side of the border, with “no southbound movements by US carriers.”
Reports released by Mexican news sources said about 500 trucks were blocking southbound traffic into Mexico to prevent the entrance of American trucks into the country.
The Pharr-Reynosa Bridge, which connects the city of Reynosa to McAllen, Texas, is the busiest route used for international in the Rio Grande Valley and handles the majority of the produce that crosses into the US from Mexico, including avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.
The governor’s office imposed the new inspections to enhance safety at border ports in response to the Biden administration’s plan to end pandemic-related restrictions at the border.
Abbott ordered the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) last week to conduct “enhanced safety inspections” of vehicles as they cross from Mexico into Texas.
The new inspections were part of a broader effort to deter illegal immigration to the US, Abbott said.
However, the new move has infuriated major US traders and risked alienating even some of Abbott’s allies.
Major traders described the new inspections slapped by Texans as redundant. Some traders in Texas said they have waited days for their goods to arrive and already had buyers canceling their orders due to the delays.
The president of Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Lance Jungmeyer, wrote to Abbott on Saturday, saying the new safety inspection policy “is causing serious delays with no commensurate increase in border safety.”
“Over $9 billion dollars worth of produce is traded through Texas,” Jungmeyer wrote, noting that the new inspections had already “severely impacted trade.”
Also, the president of the Border Trade Alliance warned that the new policy could further drive up consumer prices in the United States.
Consumer prices in the United States have reached the highest level in decades.
However, some claim Mexico’s notorious criminal cartels use trucks hired to carry fresh produce to the US instead for human trafficking and smuggling drugs into the United States.