AUSTIN, Texas ( Associated Press) – One of the busiest trade ports on the US-Mexico border remained effectively closed Wednesday as frustration and traffic jams grew over Texas government orders. Greg Abbott required additional inspections of commercial trucks as part of Republicans’ vast frontier. security operation.
Mexican truck drivers have blocked the Faro-Reynosa International Bridge in protest since Monday after Abbott last week instructed state troops to stop and inspect trucks arriving in Texas. Unusually long backups – some lasting 12 hours or more – have piled up elsewhere along Texas’ nearly 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) border.
The Mexican government said Abbott’s order was causing “serious damage” to business, and 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.,
Abbott warned last week that the inspection would “dramatically slow down” border traffic, but he has not addressed backups or port shutdowns since. The governor planned a press conference for Wednesday afternoon in Laredo.
In a video posted to Instagram, Nuevo León Governor Samuel García said he planned to meet Abbott on Wednesday and reassure him that “he has no reason to worry about drugs nor migration.” The video showed aerial shots of the port of Colombia entering from Nuevo Laredo and pictures of Mexican officials inspecting trucks. He said Mexico would implement “specific checkpoints” on Thursday “to show that neither of the two issues is a trailer that we know concerns it.”
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.
He was accompanied by Joe Arevalo, the owner of Keystone Cold, a cold-storage warehouse on the border. He added that although Texas troops have always inspected some trucks crossing the border “they have never, ever, ever organized a complete system or a complete supply chain.”
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, such as leafy green vegetables, to enter the Americas.
Mexico supplies about two-thirds of the product sold in Texas.
“We are living through a nightmare, and we are already suffering from a very fragile supply chain from the pandemic and trying to restart business,” Arevalo said.
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, compared the odds caused by the February Trucker blockade in Canada. Which forced auto plants on both sides of the border to stop or reduce production.
Anderson said consumers will start to see the effects by the end of this week, if not sooner.
“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.