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Truck drivers from Mexico end blockade of Texas bridges

Pharr, El Paso bridges resume operations

Commercial traffic has resumed at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge after two days of protests, but the Texas Department of Public Safety will continue with enhanced inspections of trucks arriving from Mexico. (Photo: Noi Mahoney)

Two Texas border bridges have resumed operations Wednesday after commercial traffic was temporarily stopped by truck drivers protesting added inspections of trucks entering from Mexico.

Mexico-based drivers ceased their blockades on the Mexican side of both the Ysleta-Zaragoza Bridge in El Paso and the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which connects the Mexican city of Reynosa to Pharr, Texas.

The blockades began as a protest against long waits at the bridges due to additional inspections by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Protests at the Port of Pharr are over and the port is ready for business,” Armando Taboada, assistant director of  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) field operations at the Laredo Field Office, said in an email to the trade community Wednesday. 

Abbott announced the increased border security measures last week aimed at stopping large numbers of migrants crossing into the state illegally. 

The inspections are on top of those already conducted by CBP and U.S. Border Patrol.

Protests at the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge in El Paso ended at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, Roger Maier, a CBP spokesman, told FreightWaves. 

On Tuesday, Mexico-based truck drivers also briefly blocked the commercial lanes at the port of entry in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

While the protests have ended in El Paso and Pharr, DPS will continue its enhanced inspections, Abbott said Wednesday.

At a news conference in Laredo, Abbott and Samuel García, governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo León, announced that DPS inspections at the Laredo-Colombia Solidarity International Bridge would return to normal “effectively immediately.”

García and Abbott agreed to enhanced border security measures, including patrols and checkpoints in Nuevo León, aimed at preventing migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.  

“I look forward to working with the other [Mexican] governors who have bridges coming into Texas and hopefully we can make similar agreements,” Abbott said. “Until those agreements are reached with those states, the Texas Department of Public Safety will continue to thoroughly inspect vehicles coming into the United States from every state except Nuevo León.”

Taboada said to expect long delays in Pharr and other Texas international bridges until DPS ends the enhanced inspections. The inspections have led to hourslong wait times in some places.

“Texas DPS will continue to conduct safety inspections as before, which will impact the flow of trade,” Taboada said.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]