Truckers protest Abbott's inspection measures at Texas-Mexico border

McAllen, Texas – Commercial traffic has been halted at several points of entry at the Texas-Mexico border due to protests over increased safety inspections implemented by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Truckers have blocked two commercial ports of entry at the Texas-Mexico border to protest Gov. Greg Abbott's increased inspection criteria that's caused massive delays.
Truckers have blocked two commercial ports of entry at the Texas-Mexico border to protest Gov. Greg Abbott's increased inspection criteria that's caused massive delays.  © Collage: REUTERS

There are two known ports of entry being blocked by protests: the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge that connects Reynosa, Mexico to McAllen, Texas and the Ysleta port of entry in El Paso.

According to the Texas Tribune, the protests follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's controversial decision to enhance safety inspections at state border ports due to the Biden administration's plan to end title 42 starting May 23.

Title 42 was a Trump-era Covid-19-related restriction that banned migrants and asylum-seekers from entering the US.

According to a press release, Abbott said, "We will use any and all lawful powers to curtail the flow of drugs, human traffickers, illegal immigrants, weapons, and other contraband into Texas."

These enhanced inspections seem to be causing massive delays, which inspired truckers carrying goods into the US to protest the excessive wait times by blocking all north and southbound lanes on the Mexico side of the border.

But gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke doesn't see Abbott's increased inspection measures as a way to ensure safety. Rather, he sees it as the cause of unnecessary inflation that also keeps truckers from earning a living.

"Political stunts at the border"

Gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke slammed Gov. Abbott's increased inspections, calling the move a "political stunt."
Gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke slammed Gov. Abbott's increased inspections, calling the move a "political stunt."  © Collage: REUTERS/Screenshot/Twitter/BetoMedia

On Monday, O'Rourke visited the backed up Laredo–Colombia Solidarity International Bridge, where he said the cost "is coming to the truck drivers behind me who have been on this bridge all day," adding that truckers get paid each time they cross the US-Mexico border.

Usually, truckers cross the border four times a day, but with recent delays due to Abbott's increased inspection criteria, most have only been able to cross once.

"What you see behind me is not just stalled trucks. You see a supply chain problem that is the making of the governor of the state of Texas [who is] making it harder for goods to get to the consumers in America who are waiting on them."

The El Paso native added that if these delays go on much longer, it could lead many to lose their jobs.

Many border towns such as Laredo are trade communities, "that [depend] on the flow of traffic, and trade, and trucks," O'Rourke said, adding that there are 600,000 jobs in the state, and six million nationally, that depend on the US-Mexico trade.

The former US representative concluded by calling Abbott's increased inspection measures a political stunt "that doesn't bring security or safety, but in fact creates more chaos."

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

More on the topic US politics: