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Border & Immigration

Truck drivers in Mexico begin plans to fully close the border in protest of Gov. Abbott

Commercial transport drivers wait to access diesel pumps at a fuel station just a block from the Reynosa-International bridge in the U.S. The drivers circumvented blockades on the Mexican side through land ports open at the time.
Pablo De La Rosa
/
Texas Public Radio
Commercial transport drivers wait to access diesel pumps at a fuel station just a block from the Reynosa-International bridge in the U.S. The drivers circumvented blockades on the Mexican side through land ports open at the time.

Organizers of blockades at international bridges with Mexico began to mobilize commercial transport trucks at additional bridges on Tuesday with the plan to eventually block all land ports at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Last week, commercial transport drivers shut down several international bridges with Mexico by creating traffic blockades in protest of additional inspections ordered by Gov. Abbott. The order increased inspection times from hours to days. The governor ordered the inspections in response to President Biden’s plan to end the use of Title 42 to expel migrants who seek asylum at the border.

Santos Alvarado, a commercial truck driver who transports produce from Mexico into the U.S., said the move to close all bridges is happening because of a lack of solidarity between commercial drivers on the Mexican side.

“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 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.”

The Reynosa-Pharr International Bridge was closed to all traffic after commercial transport drivers in Mexico created a blockade to protest additional inspections ordered by Governor Abbott.
Pablo De La Rosa
/
Texas Public Radio
The Reynosa-Pharr International Bridge was closed to all traffic after commercial transport drivers in Mexico created a blockade to protest additional inspections ordered by Governor Abbott.

The additional inspections are being carried out by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) under the order of Governor Abbott.

"The Biden Administration's open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous cartels and deadly drugs to pour into the United States, and this crisis will only be made worse by ending Title 42 expulsions," said Governor Abbott at a press conference in Weslaco, Texas last week where he announced the new inspections.

"With the end of Title 42 expulsions looming next month, Texas will immediately begin taking unprecedented action to do what no state has done in American history to secure our border,” said Abbott at the event. “The new strategies will further strengthen our already robust response to the Biden border disaster, and we will use any and all lawful powers to curtail the flow of drugs, human traffickers, illegal immigrants, weapons, and other contraband into Texas."

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Border and Immigration News Desk, including the Catena Foundation and Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

Several Border trade groups have sent letters to 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.”

RELATED | In El Paso, Abbott touts Operation Lone Star while silent on commercial vehicle inspections

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement on the additional inspections ordered by Abbott.

“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 DHS in the 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.”


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