Friday, September 30, 2022

Texas conducting most truck inspections despite border standoff

Texas conducting most truck inspections despite border standoff

Paul J. Weber and Acacia by Coronado

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday shrugged off mounting pressure to immediately end truck inspections that have blocked the US-Mexico border for several days, saying that miles-long backups and malfunctioning Regardless of the yield, he will not cancel his new order on all bridges until further assurance of safety.

The two-term Republican said he was only ending inspections on an international bridge, which has a border from the Mexican state of Laredo, following the announcement he described as a pact for more heightened security with Nuevo León Governor Samuel García. Is.

But that won’t bring relief to truckers parked elsewhere along Texas’ 1,200-mile border, including in cities where backups have lasted more than 12 hours and frustrated truckers blocked bridges in protest. This includes the Faro-Reynosa International Bridge, which has been effectively closed since Monday due to protests from truck drivers.

Abbott said he expected officials from three other Mexican states to follow Nuevo León to the Texas border and also promised more security.

“I understand the concerns that businesses are trying to move product across the border,” Abbott said in Laredo, where he was joined by Garcia. “But I know all too well the dismay of my fellow Texans and my fellow Americans for not protecting our border by the Biden administration.”

Pressure on Abbott has also come from aides of the two-time governor.

The Texas Trucking Association, which has backed Abbott for re-election, said the current situation “cannot be sustained” as delays postponed deliveries and threatened to empty store shelves.

The Mexican governors of Coahuila and Tamaulipas, which both border Texas, also sent a letter to Abbott calling the inspections overzealous and saying they are “said to be causing further economic pain” on both sides of the border.

Mexico’s federal government said Abbott’s order was causing “serious damage” to trade, and that cross-border traffic had fallen to a third of normal levels. On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called Abbott’s order “unnecessary and redundant.”

The standoff is the result of an initiative Abbott says is needed to stop human trafficking and drug flows. Abbott ordered the inspections as part of “unprecedented actions” he promised in response to the Biden administration closing down a public health law that limited asylum-seekers in the name of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

But critics question how inspections are serving Abbott’s purpose, while business owners and experts complain of financial losses and warn that US grocers could see shortages as soon as this week.

Disappointment is spreading even within members of Abbott’s own party: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a Republican, called the inspections a “disastrous policy”, forcing some trucks to reroute hundreds of miles into Arizona. doing.

“I describe this as a crisis, because it is not the usual way of doing business,” said Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, whose county includes the bridge in Faro. “You’re talking billions of dollars. When you stop that process, I mean many, many, many, many people are affected.”

The shutdown and recession have triggered the biggest reaction ever to Abbott’s multi-billion dollar border campaign, which the two-time governor has made a cornerstone of his administration. Texas has thousands of state soldiers and National Guard members on the border and has turned prisons for immigrants arrested for state trespassing.

Disruptions at some of the world’s busiest international trading ports could pose an economic and political threat for Abbott, who is seeking a third term in November. Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the former presidential candidate running against Abbott, said during a halt at Farr on Tuesday that inspections were doing nothing to stop the flow of migrants and worsen supply chain issues.

According to the National Freight Transportation Chamber, an estimated 3,000 trucks cross the Farr Bridge on a typical day. The bridge is the largest land port for produce entering the US.

Mexico supplies about two-thirds of the product sold in Texas.

Additional inspections are conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which said that as of Monday, it had inspected more than 3,400 commercial vehicles and placed more than 800 “out of service” for violations that included faulty brakes, tyres. And lighting was included. There was no mention of whether the migrant turned out to be in the investigation or the drugs.

Jerry Pacheco, executive director of the International Business Accelerator and president of the Border Industrial Association, said the protests cost businesses millions of dollars a day.

“It’s going to affect all of us in the United States, all of us. Your car parts are going to be delivered late, your computer — if you ordered a Dell or HP tablet, they’re going to be disrupted. “

Ed Anderson, a professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, likens the disruptions caused to Canada to February’s trucker blockade, which forced auto plants on both sides of the border to shut down or cut production .

Anderson said consumers will start seeing the effects before the end of this week.

“Either the prices are going to go up or the shelves are going to go down,” he said.


Associated Press journalist Acacia Coronado. Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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