There's a new trucker protest underway, this time along the US southern border. Reuters reports that big-rig drivers from Mexico have been blocking bridges leading in and out of Texas for days, a protest against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's recent mandate that officials carry out vehicle safety inspections at ports of entry to deter contraband and people smugglers. The truck drivers say the delays due to the inspections are costing them hours of time, and therefore money, with the Mexican government adding that it "rejects" the inspections that are costing both American and Mexican businesses "significant revenue." The Texas International Produce Association agrees, noting in a letter this week that Abbott's order "is destroying our business and the reputation of Texas," per the Financial Times.
In the late afternoon on Monday, the average time for commercial vehicles to cross the border at the Ysleta Port of Entry into El Paso peaked at seven hours, per stats from US Customs and Border Protection cited by the Texas Tribune. Mexican industry groups put that time lag even higher—up to 30 hours in some cases, per the Times. At the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the thoroughfare that handles the bulk of Mexican produce entering the US, trucks have been backed up for miles for at least five days. For refrigerated trucks, running out of fuel while idling in line, leading to spoiled produce, is a concern.
CBP doesn't sound happy about the inspections, saying in a statement that the "unnecessary" searches were leading to "critical impacts to an already-strained supply chain," per Reuters. Earlier this week, Texas state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa called the situation "a mess" that isn't needed. "Many of my constituents are asking, 'Why are we being punished?'" Hinojosa said, per the Tribune. "This doesn't seem to have much or anything to do with border security. This is hurting people in their pocketbook." No comment from Abbott's office on the growing calls to rescind the order. (Read more US-Mexico border stories.)