Inspections halt 19,000 trucks at Texas-Mexico border
Bloomberg October 9, 2023
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border-security crackdown is clogging up commercial crossings, leaving at least 19,000 trucks loaded with $1.9 billion of goods stuck waiting in Mexico.
“Absurd” safety inspections are causing wait times as long as 24 hours in lines that stretch for 14 miles, Mexico’s biggest trucking group said in a statement Oct. 8. The holdup makes it exceedingly difficult for businesses to manage supply chains, it said.
Texas announced a renewed push for cargo-truck inspections last month as part of Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” plan to deter illegal border crossings and drug smuggling amid what he says is a lack of enforcement by the federal government. His administration did the same in April 2022, prompting protests from business interests on both sides of the border. The inspections were halted a week later after Texas officials said they’d reached security agreements with their Mexican state counterparts across the border.
The measure “doesn’t help the region’s development and puts at risk tens of thousands of jobs in Mexico and in the U.S.,” the trucking association said. “We reiterate our call to the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy to exhaust all diplomatic channels and spaces for dialogue to demand that the Texas government put an end to this measure.”
At midmorning on Monday, there was a 240-minute wait time for commercial vehicles to cross the Ysleta bridge in El Paso, according to government figures. About $443 billion in electronics, fruit, nuts and machinery crossed into the U.S. via Texas-Mexico ports of entry in 2021, according to the Texas Center for Border and Economic Enterprise Development at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Texas has more than two dozen international bridges that link to the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Chihuahua.
Abbott’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The governor, a Republican who has made illegal immigration one of his top issues, recently called a special legislative session and asked lawmakers to create legislation that would make illegal entry into the country a state crime and increase penalties for smuggling.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday said Abbott’s administration has a “very hostile attitude” and has “further complicated the migration issue with politicking.” He said Mexico is preparing a diplomatic note to be sent Monday and that he has discussed Texas with President Joe Biden as well.
The 2022 Texas border crackdown led Mexico’s then-Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier to say the country was seeking to reduce its reliance on Texas crossing points, and that the government was working to relocate a planned rail and ports expansion known as the T-MEC Corridor that had been set to include a Texas border crossing.