EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Truckers and their employers are expressing frustration at a sudden spike in wait times to get their cargo from Mexico to destinations in the United States.
They blame the delays on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott instructing Department of Public Safety personnel to inspect trucks coming over from Mexico in addition to checks U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducts at ports of entry. The governor issued the directive to stem human smuggling activity that he says the federal government isn’t paying due attention to. Separately, DPS said it’s trying to ensure the vehicles comply with safety standards.
“Border security is an important element of this region, but so is the trade that keeps millions of Texans employed,” the Texas International Produce Association told Abbott in a letter Friday.
The group said commercial trucks at border crossings in Pharr, Texas, were lined up for miles on Thursday, waiting to cross their cargo from Mexico into the United States. “This is destroying our business and the reputation of Texas,” the produce association told Abbott. “TIPA urges your office to modify this action.”
In El Paso, some truckers told Border Report they waited several hours on Friday to bring manufactured parts and goods from factories across the border.
“We spent nine hours to cross the export lane. We’re talking from Juarez to El Paso. It affects us because we are wasting too much time. We get paid by the trip, so this is no good for us,” said Miguel Rubio, a trucker from Juarez.
The Juarez Maquiladora Association, also known as INDEX, on Friday urged its members to send their trucks to the United States through the Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry. New Mexico is not conducting additional inspections, but few trucks were seen coming over from Mexico on Saturday.
Likewise, traffic flowed smoothly at the Ysleta-Zaragoza commercial border crossing on Saturday afternoon. There was no sign of a state checkpoint or additional inspections as the trucks headed toward Interstate 10. Still, the line of trucks on the Mexican side stretched for more than a mile due to the previous night’s overflow.
Truckers and the international trade community are leery of the inspections ramping up again on Monday.
“We don’t know when this will end. Apparently, it’s going to continue next week,” trucker Rubio said. “We have to adjust to their protocols. There’s nothing we can do because we have to obey their laws.”
In an email to Border Report, DPS officials declined to answer a set of detailed questions regarding the truck inspections.
“DPS is committed to enforcing compliance with safety standards and one of our primary functions is to ensure Texas roadways are safe for all Texans and visitors to our great state,” the email said. “For security reasons, the department does not discuss operational specifics.”