AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — One of the busiest trade ports on the U.S.-Mexico border once again remained effectively closed Wednesday as frustration and traffic snarls mounted over new orders by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Since Monday, Mexican truckers have blocked the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in protest after Abbott last week directed state troopers to stop and inspect trucks coming into Texas. Unusually long backups — some lasting 12 hours or longer — have stacked up elsewhere along Texas’ roughly 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometre) border.
Not even a week into the inspections, the Mexican government said that Abbott’s order was causing “serious damage” to trade, and that cross-border traffic had plummeted to a third of normal levels. On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called Abbott’s order “unnecessary and redundant.”
The gridlock is the fallout of an initiative that Abbott says is needed to curb human trafficking and the flow of drugs. But critics question how the inspections are meeting that objective, while business owners and experts complain of financial losses and warn U.S. grocery shoppers could notice shortages as soon as this week.
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