Texas keeping most truck inspections despite border gridlock – CNBC
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday defied mounting pressure to immediately end truck inspections that have gridlocked the U.S.-Mexico border for days, saying that despite miles-long backups and spoiled produce, he would not rescind his new order at all bridges until he gets more assurances of security.
The two-term Republican said he was only ending inspections at one international bridge after announcing what he described as an agreement for more enhanced security with Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel García, whose Mexican state is across the border from Laredo.
But that would not bring relief to idling truckers stacked up elsewhere along Texas’ 1,200-mile border, including in cities where backups have lasted for more than 12 hours and frustrated truckers have blocked bridges in protest. That includes the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which has been effectively closed since Monday by trucker protests.
Abbott said he hoped officials in the three other Mexican states that border Texas would follow Nuevo Leon and also promise more security.
Truckers returning from the United States wait near their trailers while stranded at a protest, by Mexican truck drivers blocking the Zaragoza-Ysleta International Bridge connecting the city of Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, Texas, against truck inspections imposed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 11, 2022.
Jose Luis Gonzalez | Reuters
“I understand the concerns that businesses have trying to move product across the border,” Abbott said in Laredo, where he was joined by García. “But I also know well the frustration of my fellow Texans and my fellow Americans caused by the Biden administration not securing our border.”
Pressure on Abbott has come even from allies of the two-term governor.
The Texas Trucking Association, which has endorsed Abbott for reelection, said that the current situation “cannot be sustained” as the delays postponed deliveries and threatened to empty store shelves.
The Mexican governors of Coahuila and Tamaulipas, which both border Texas, also sent Abbott a letter calling the inspections overzealous and said they are “creating havoc and economic pain” on both sides of the border.
Mexico’s federal government has said Abbott’s order is causing “serious damage” to trade, and that cross-border traffic had plummeted to a third of normal levels. On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called Abbott’s order “unnecessary and redundant.”
Mexican truck drivers block the Pharr–Reynosa International Bridge connecting the city of Reynosa to McAllen, Texas, to protest truck inspections imposed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in Reynosa, Mexico April 11, 2022.
Stringer | Reuters
The gridlock is the fallout of an initiative that Abbott says is needed to curb human trafficking and the flow of drugs. Abbott ordered the inspections as part of “unprecedented actions” he promised in response to the Biden administration winding down a public health law that has limited asylum-seekers in the name of preventing the spread of Covid-19.
But critics question how the inspections are meeting Abbott’s objective, while business owners and experts complain of financial losses and warn U.S. grocery shoppers could notice shortages as soon as this week.
Frustration is also spreading within members of Abbott’s own party: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a Republican, called the inspections a “catastrophic policy” that is forcing some trucks to reroute hundreds of miles to Arizona.
“I do describe it as a crisis, because this is not the normal way of doing business,” said Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, whose county …….