Losses mount for border industry as Texas truck inspections continue


EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Commercial trucks coming over from Mexico again moved at a snail’s pace as Texas Department of Public Safety enhanced inspections continued for a sixth consecutive day at the El Paso region’s largest commercial border crossing.

The average truck wait at the Ysleta port of entry was eight hours on Thursday – a far cry from the usual 50- to 80-minute crossing time. The wait time at the Santa Teresa (New Mexico) Port of Entry that has become an alternative was 140 minutes – about four times normal.

A Juarez truck driver talks on the phone as semis trying to get across into the United States are not moving at the Ysleta port of entry.

Mexican Chamber of Industry Board Member Thor Salayandia said the delays so far have cost the border industry $130 million to $135 million. That includes overtime pay for drivers, unfulfilled deliveries, and additional warehousing costs.

“The economic situation in the city will get complicated if this continues. This creates uncertainty among investors and (slows) expansion. And we don’t know when this will end,” Salayandia said. “We are talking to business interests in the United States to talk to Texas so that this doesn’t continue. We should be talking about speeding up border crossings, procuring better technology (at ports of entry) instead of this.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Saturday informed industry stakeholders Texas DPS was conducting enhanced safety inspections on trucks coming across the Ysleta port. CBP since last Monday expanded hours of operation at Santa Teresa and at the Marcelino Serna commercial port of entry in Tornillo, Texas, to alleviate the delays.

DPS has not responded to KTSM and Border Report media inquiries about why the enhanced inspections started and when they might end.

Texas has implemented them in the past (2023 and 2021) coinciding with migrant surges in the region. CBP migrant encounters fell in the El Paso Sector in March, but trains carrying thousands of migrants arrived in Juarez late last month.

A few weeks earlier, large groups of migrants gathered along the Rio Grande and at least two confrontations – or riots, as state prosecutors called them – with the Texas Army National Guard were reported March 21 and April 12.

Sitting in the sweltering cab of his semi on Thursday afternoon, Fernando Javier Olivas braced for another hours-long wait to get his cargo from Juarez to El Paso through the Ysleta port.

“This doesn’t just affect us (in Juarez), but also people over there in El Paso,” the Juarez truck driver said. “(But) we have to abide by the rules and wait here several hours. It’s lost time, it’s getting up very early every day. Yes, it’s affecting us a lot.”

An aerial view of trailers lining up at a border crossing the State of Texas conducts enhanced inspections on trucks as they arrive from Mexico the U.S., causing hourslong delays in Juarez, Mexico on April 29, 2024. (Photo by Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Olivas said he was caught last year, too, in the long lines caused by Texas safety inspections.

“I’ve been here three hours and haven’t advanced at all. It’s not the first time. Last year, it was the same thing. We spent hours in line. It’s because of the migrants that are here. It is affecting us all, not just here in Mexico, but El Paso is also affected,” he said.

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