CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last week, Governor Greg Abbott ordered commercial trucks coming from Mexico to undergo extra inspections – a move that led to major backups at border crossings.
Abbott agreed to ease those inspections Wednesday, but only for the border entry point near Laredo, and in exchange for the promise of more border security from the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
Meanwhile, the impacts are still being felt at other border crossings in the state, and there is growing concern from the trucking industry that Abbott's recent concession is not enough. They say the backups may cause shortages and higher prices at a time when inflation is already a problem.
John Esparza, leader of the Texas Trucking Association, said the safety and well-being of the people who drive the trucks carrying everything from produce to electronics and automobile parts is of paramount importance.
“A driver in this situation can only be on duty for 14 hours and driving 11 of those hours," Esparza said. "So, whatever their destination is, once you’ve got unknown and uncertain delays, the logistics become a little stressed and, more importantly, the driver does too.”
Department of Public Safety officials estimate that a quarter of all vehicles coming across the U.S./Mexico border had serious mechanical issues, including bad brakes and tires.
Abbott said he is hoping to force Mexican officials to do more to combat the cartels and their smuggling operations. Of the four Mexican states that share a border with Texas, at least one is on board. An agreement reached with Nuevo Leon will cover about an eight-mile stretch of our more than 1,200-mile border.
The governor is hoping to reach similar agreements with the other three states.
Meanwhile, Esparza said that while his organization supports what the governor is trying to do, changes need to come quickly to keep the impacts from becoming too widespread.
“It’s not just a regional issue," Esparza said. "This is not about the people in Laredo or the people in the Valley being able to get their retail or cilantro or tomatoes out of Mexico. This has impact across the entire country.”
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