EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – More than 2,000 U.S.-bound trucks are stranded in Juarez as truckers frustrated with “slow” inspections on the American side blocked access to the commercial lanes of the Ysleta port of entry for a second consecutive day.
Late Tuesday morning, the head of Juarez’s largest trucking association said a second border crossing, the Santa Teresa port of entry in New Mexico, was also being blocked from the Mexican side in protest.
The truckers began their protest Monday afternoon after waiting up to nine hours in line to cross into the United States. The delays were first reported on Friday and coincided with the start of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Enhanced Border Inspections.
The inspections are part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiatives to stem human trafficking and other illegal activity and to ensure trucks coming over from Mexico are safe.
But the truckers on Tuesday said they won’t move until inspection times on the U.S. side go back to normal. “Some get paid by the trip, so if they don’t deliver (merchandise), they don’t get paid,” said Randy Cardiel, a trucker from Chihuahua, Mexico.
The drivers aren’t the only ones affected by lengthier inspection times or the shutdown.
U.S.-run factories in Mexico are also losing money, said Thor Salayandia, president of the Juarez Chamber of Industry and Manufacturing.
“This is primarily a political issue that is detrimental to the border area. Mexico and the United States are being affected by the Texas inspections,” Salayandia said. “Two-thousand trailers are stuck at the border. If a single truck carries $50,000 in merchandise, then we’re talking about $100 million (in commerce) being held up at the border.”
Juarez has about 300 factories that manufacture components and products for Fortune 500 businesses in the United States, including automakers and tech companies. Those factories operate on a “just in time” schedule, which means delays at the border overwhelm storage capacity and deprive companies in the United States of parts necessary to make and deliver products to American consumers.
“We hope the government of Texas realizes that the most affected by this are U.S. factories that have a presence in Mexico, and the border economy,” Salayandia said. “We talk about free trade treaties and the flow of merchandise. This does not go in line with free trade.”
In a Monday visit to El Paso, Abbott spoke about the need to keep Texas communities safe in the face of record migration and the announced termination of the Title 42 order, which has allowed border agents to quickly expel 1.7 million newly arrived migrants.
He did not address the impact of the enhanced border inspections by DPS.
Juarez business leaders since late Friday are urging truckers to try alternate crossings to avoid delays. Trucks could be seen coming non-stop from the Santa Teresa, New Mexico port of entry on Tuesday morning. New Mexico is not applying enhanced inspections at the border.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, called Texas’ enhanced inspections a “political stunt.”
“Once again, we’re seeing the Governor enact directives that demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the complex issues we face on our border. Political stunts, like ‘enhanced inspections’ and Operation Lone Star, have no place in El Paso, in Texas, or in public policy,” Escobar tweeted.