Mexican truck drivers have blocked bridges on the border with the United States for a second day to protest an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to step up security inspections that has disrupted traffic at ports of entry and business groups to do so have prompted to warn of deliveries chain breaks.
“Yesterday it took me 17 hours to enter and return to the United States,” said Raymundo Galicia, a Mexican driver who took part in a protest at the Santa Teresa Bridge connecting San Jerónimo, Chihuahua, with Santa Teresa, New Mexico, connects.
It is the third bridge in the busy Ciudad Juárez-El Paso area to be blocked by drivers whose wages have plummeted since long waits began last week.
Traffic at a fourth bridge connecting Reynosa to Pharr, Texas, was also halted on Tuesday by drivers who had parked their trucks and started barbecuing on the Mexican side of the port of entry, according to photos sent to Reuters became.
“I get paid right away whether it takes me an hour or 10 hours to cross, so that affects us a lot,” Galicia said, noting that he and his staff would target more bridges if the delays continued.
The slowdown began after Republican Abbott last week ordered officials to conduct vehicle security inspections at ports of entry to detect people smuggling and contraband.
The new measures have infuriated industry groups who have warned of shortages in perishable products over the Easter holiday weekend.
“This plan…exacerbates our already disrupted supply chain and will cripple an economy that relies so heavily on cross-border trade,” tweeted US Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat whose district includes most of El Paso, on Tuesday.
Mexico’s National Cargo Transport Chamber estimated that delays at the Pharr Bridge alone were causing $8 million a day in economic losses, and urged Abbott to withdraw the order to prevent a “collapse in international cross-border trade.”