EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Mexican Foreign Ministry is asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to “find alternatives” to additional border truck inspections that have reduced binational commerce to one-third of its normal flow.
Abbott last week directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to step up inspections of trucks coming across from Mexico; this has resulted in delays of up to 12 hours for manufactured goods, parts and produce crossing the border.
“The Foreign Ministry opposes this state measure that does significant harm to the trade between our two countries. As an unavoidable consequence of this measure, businesses in Mexico and the United States are losing competitiveness and significant revenues,” the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Abbott ordered enhanced border inspections, concerned that an immigration crisis – unauthorized migrant flows are reaching record levels at the Southern border – is straining the resources of Texas communities and putting citizens at risk. The last straw was the Biden administration announcing the end of Title 42, a public health order allowing border agents to immediately expel newly arrived migrants.
In Juarez, where 330 factories produce billions of dollars in parts and manufactured goods for U.S., European and Asian countries, traffic snarls at border crossings are “holding hostage” $100 million in cargo per day, according to the Chamber of Industry and Manufacturing.
The trade association’s president, Thor Salayandia, on Wednesday urged its members to write to Abbott explaining the economic harm DPS inspections are causing and demanding they be scaled back.
“This will hurt investment. The bottlenecks (at commercial ports of entry) could stymie new investment. Juarez’s attraction is its production and logistics […] this is a crisis because deliveries are delayed,” Salayandia said, adding that in a worst-case scenario, “this could lead to work stoppages” at the factories.
The trade group and the foreign ministry said the additional inspections (U.S. Customs and Border Protection already inspects every truck coming over from Mexico) threaten a $440 billion regional trade relationship.
“Strengthening supply chains in North America is a top foreign policy priority for both countries,” the ministry said. “The Mexican government has entered into communication with the U.S. Embassy, the Department of State, Homeland Security and the office of the Governor of Texas to fully restore trade and find alternatives that ensure security in our shared border without harming binational trade.”
Abbott on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Samuel Garcia, the governor of Nuevo Leon, to cut back on DPS inspections at a shared border crossing. Abbott said the stepped-up truck checks would continue elsewhere until Mexican governors follow Garcia’s lead and enact enhanced security measures south of the border to prevent human trafficking and drug smuggling and ensure Mexican trucks are safe to drive.
The enhanced checks continued in El Paso, where the average wait for trucks to cross over from Mexico was between four and five hours on Wednesday.
Chihuahua Gov. Maru Campos earlier in the day said her state has made substantial public safety improvements in the past few months and plans to deploy 4,000 “smart” cameras that, among other things, would be able to track trucks from industrial parks to ports of entry.
Meantime, Mexican truckers have no choice but to endure the waits.
“I’ve been stuck in the same place for 90 minutes,” one trucker said while idling in line. “It’s a bad situation. There’s no place to go to the bathroom and the burrito sellers already left.”