Texas is stepping up border inspections, causing delays and bottlenecks
Tightened security checks at the Texas border are disrupting the supply chain — and could even be contributing to avocado and tomato shortages in the US, according to a new report.
The issues are related to a border security directive issued by Gov. Greg Abbott last week, ordering troops from the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct secondary inspections on vehicles entering the country at the Texas-Mexico border, even after an initial inspection at the port of entry, according to the Texas Tribune.
Merchant trucks carrying imported goods are inspected at select ports of entry across the Texas border, delaying delivery by hours.
“This is causing further disruption to our supply chain. It’s just something we don’t need right now,” Ermilo Richer, owner of a shipping and importing company in Laredo, told the Texas Tribune.
Abbott rolled out the new security measures Wednesday before the Biden administration taped the expected pandemic-era Title 42, an emergency order that allowed the government to turn migrants away at the border.
The Texas International Produce Association wrote a letter to the governor “begging” him to halt or change secondary inspections due to supply chain snafus.
“In warehouses, staff sit idle and there are no trucks to unload. Buyers in other parts of the country cannot understand why their product is not available,” the letter said.
“US shippers lose money sitting around for days not having to move loads. I even heard from a member that a trucking company is refusing to send trucks south of San Antonio out of concern that cargo will not be available there. It’s destroying our business and Texas’ reputation. I foresee companies planning to move their business to New Mexico and Arizona,” the letter said.
Abbott argued on Wednesday that secondary inspections of commercial vehicles are needed because they are often used to smuggle drugs or people.
But Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) said Texas Troopers are not allowed to inspect cargo and can only conduct mechanical inspections.
“I don’t know what the rationale is. If you’re worried about too many people coming in but not being able to inspect the cargo, it doesn’t do anything except make it uncomfortable and negatively impact trade,” Cuellar told the Texas Tribune.
Soldiers plan to inspect each vehicle, and each inspection could take about 45 minutes, Cuellar told the outlet.
Abbott, who is currently running for re-election, did not respond to the Post’s request for comment on how his border initiative could affect the economy.
His opponent, El Paso Democrat Beto O’Rourke, wasted no time in attacking. tweet that Abbott’s “latest political stunts” are making inflation worse.
“I just spoke to a small business owner in McAllen who imports products from Mexico. Her broker said that of the 250 trucks he normally crosses each day at the Pharr port of entry, only 68 could get through on Friday. The rest were stuck,” O’Rourke tweeted.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate says importer makes McAllen told him Monday would be chaos as their warehouses will be empty and trucks that show up to bring these fruits and vegetables to Texas and other parts of the country will have nothing to load.
Mexico is Texas’ most important trading partner with a turnover of 442 billion US dollars.
Cuellar told the Texas Tribune that if this continues, there could be shortages of avocados, tomatoes and other Mexican goods popular in the US.