On April 6, Texas governor Greg Abbott issued a two-paragraph order to DPS Director Col. Steven McCraw “to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross international ports of entry into Texas. These inspections should begin immediately to help ensure that Texans are not endangered by unsafe vehicles and their unsafe drivers.”
A-Butt’s directive to inspect trucks moving goods from Mexico to the United States happens after the truck has already cleared federal customs. This unnecessary, second inspection has sparked “a domino effect of disruptions to the manufacturing supply chain that could soon hit U.S. factories, consumers and the Texas economy.” On Monday, A-Butt’s ‘brilliant’ political stunt caused huge traffic jams and forced drivers to wait sometimes up to twelve hours at area ports of entry.
According to the El Paso Times:
Business leaders say the wait times are jeopardizing just-in-time delivery of auto parts to U.S. assembly plants and delaying the shipment of consumer goods to U.S. stores.
Miriam Kotkowski, president of Tecma Transportation Services, manages a fleet of 80 commercial vehicles that move goods between Mexican maquilas and U.S. stores and factories. The business is an arm of the El Paso-based Tecma Group of Companies, a manufacturing service provider that operates more than 35 plants in Juárez employing about 9,000 people.
Mexican news outlets reported that about 500 truckers are blocking southbound traffic into Mexico to prevent the entrance of U.S. trucks. Truckers told El Mañana in Reynosa that they had waited three to four days at the international bridge and were running out of fuel while they waited.
One trucker told the news outlet that prior to Abbott’s order, he made two crossings into the U.S. a day. Now, he’d be lucky to have one or two a week given the long delays at the bridges.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, joined a chorus of elected officials from the border who called on Abbott to rethink his strategy, saying the DPS inspections duplicate inspections already conducted by the federal government at the ports of entry.
“Governor Abbott’s unnecessary secondary inspections are killing business on the border,” Gonzalez said in a written statement to The Texas Tribune. “If this continues it will cause further supply line issues impacting America. And we will see prices of produce and other imports rise at the grocery store. He needs to allow the U.S. Customs and Border [Protection] inspection folks to do their job.”